Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Vice President Joice Mujuru yesterday launched the National Action Plan Against Rape and Sexual Abuse and implored responsible Government agencies to make concerted efforts to curb the crime.
The action plan is part of strategies adopted by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Rape set up early this year to deal with the scourge.
“Whatever is the cause or the motivating factor, I say this is wrong, this is bad,” said VP Mujuru. “It is horrendous and sheer madness. It must stop, I repeat this must stop.
“I am sure all the relevant arms of Government who have the responsibility of bringing sanity, order, good and normal human behaviour will scale up their operations and contribute towards the ideal Zimbabwe we all want.”
VP Mujuru said statistics from the police showed that over 10 000 women and girls had been raped between 2012 and the first quarter of this year.
“An analysis of current statistics demonstrates that there is also an increase in the number of reported cases of rape,” she said. “Statistics from the ZRP indicate that from 2012 to the first quarter of 2014, a total number of 3 571 adult women and 7 411 female juveniles were raped, these trends are unacceptable, it is unheard of.”
VP Mujuru said it was disturbing that most perpetrators of rape were people close or related to their victims.
She said implementation of the action required a multi-sectoral approach to succeed.
“Now that the National Action Plan has been developed, it is the duty of all stakeholders to translate it into tangible activities for ending rape and sexual violence in our country,” said VP Mujuru.
“To ensure effective and efficient implementation of the National Action Plan, I would like to urge the Cabinet Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on rape to use an inclusive and participatory approach of working with and through the provincial taskforces to be chaired by provincial ministers.”
VP Mujuru said rape did not only violate the victim, but was also traumatic to mothers and caused psychological wounds that were difficult to heal.
She urged churches and traditional leaders to play an active role in dispelling some of the myths and beliefs that were fuelling rape and the abuse of women.
“Communities need to develop a culture of zero tolerance to rape and sexual violence,” said VP Mujuru.
“Traditional and community leaders should speak openly against sexual violence and create community based protection systems.
“Courts also have to be supportive and give stiffer and deterrent sentences for rapists. I urge service providers to promptly attend to victims of sexual violence and handle them with befitting dignity.”