Dear Members of Parliament
As you work to craft and implement the Sexual Harassment Bill, I am writing to urge you to consider the following submissions which are fundamental to women’s free, active and full participation in leadership and decision making processes.
As an aspiring Zimbabwean woman leader, Istrongly feel that the proposed Sexual Harassment Bill is an important facet towards the achievement of gender parity in the public and private spaces and the political arena.
I therefore recommend the following to the process: 1. We need a stand-alone and all inclusive Sexual Harassment Act which incorporates sexual harassment that happens in the education sector, workplace, public and private spaces and also in political parties. 2. We need a clear definition of sexual harassment and clear punitive measures for perpetrators of both light and grave offences including imprisonment of perpetrators.
3. There must be set guidelines and regulations to protect women political candidates from sexual harassment, assault and rape during elections and bar anyone convicted of sexual offenses from contesting for public positions.
4. The Government must provide adequate resources and capacity to victim friendly units (VFUs) across the country so that they are able to provide a favorable environment for victims to report their cases and also for them to gather evidence.
5. The Government must make it mandatory for political parties to adopt the Sexual Harassment Act once made into law and ensure all their political parties members are made aware of it and the consequences of violating it.
6. The bill must set out rules regarding media coverage of sexual harassment cases and the protection of the identity of the victims so that they are able to continue with their lives after the ordeal.
Based on the above, it is clear that the absence of a standalone Sexual Harassment Bill has undermined efforts aimed at achieving gender parity as mandated by sections 17, 56 and 80 of Constitution.
Therefore, it is imperative for a Sexual Harassment Bill to be adopted and implemented in Zimbabwe. The proposed Sexual Harassment Bill provides a historic opportunity for the 9th Parliament to show leadership and commitment to achieving gender parity mandated by the Constitution.
I trust that MPs know that Zimbabwean women are watching them and closely monitoring how they vote on this issue of paramount importance. I sincerely hope my views shall be put into consideration. Regards, ………………………………………