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Stiffer sentences will curb rape

The 60 women ushered into parliament by the just-ended elections form the critical mass required to push legislation that protect women from violence and abuse particularly rape.

One of the major issues women legislators should bring to the fore is the skyrocketing number of rape cases in Zimbabwe and how this vice can be controlled or eliminated altogether.

According to a survey carried out by the Sunday News Online through the Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat), at least 22 women are raped in Zimbabwe daily.

That survey also reveals an 81% increase in rape cases between 201o and 2018; a trend that should worry any level-headed Zimbabwean.

The rate at which women are being sexually abused in Zimbabwe is a serious indictment of our social and cultural uprightness and its high time lawmakers acted accordingly.

Get me right, I’m not saying women are the only victims of rape, but statistics show when a rape case is reported to the law enforcement agents, 9 times out of 10 the victim is a woman.

Rapists need to be punished severely to serve as a warning to anyone who wishes to act in such a barbaric manner. People take rape for granted, but if the truth be told; it is the worst thing that can ever happen to a woman.

The law that allows abortion after rape in case of pregnancy is not enough to erase the psychological damages brought about by the abuse.

Laws, as well as penalties for rape, have to be revised if we are serious as a society about fighting the crime.

Section 65 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act clearly stipulates that ‘rape is committed when a male person has sexual intercourse with a female person without her consent, and with reasonable knowledge that the female person does not consent to the act.’

 With that in mind, why do we allow misconceptions such as that rape does not exist between married people to stand? Sex without consent is rape and the view that a woman is a man’s property and can be slept with or without her consent should be corrected.

Regardless of marriage, there is no justification for a man forcing himself on his wife. Husbands who commit rape need to face the wrath of the law too.

When it comes to minors being sexually abused, no amount of words can describe the disgust I have for the offenders. Why is the law so lenient on such cruel people?

Female parliamentarians need to work hand-in-glove with gender activists to enact stiffer penalties for rapists. The current ones are not enough to deter would-be offenders.

Rapists who infect victims with HIV should get the life sentence because there is a razor-thin difference between that kind of rape and murder.

About the author: 

Lawrence Tichaona Mangenje writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on email lawmangenje10@gmail.com. Twitter @LTMangenje. The opinion or views expressed on this platform are those of the contributing Authors or organisation . They do not necessarily reflect the views and policies or the position of Gender and Media Connect.