Rutendo Ngara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) is partnering with the Government to craft a policy to curb sexual harassment at tertiary institutions.
Speaking at a public lecture held at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) in Bulawayo on Tuesday, ZGC legal and investigations manager, Mrs Delis Mazambane, said the commission saw it fit to partner with the Government to craft laws that will govern institutions of higher learning.
“We have submitted principles to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development that are required for the crafting of a national policy that will protect every stakeholder at higher learning institutions from any form of sexual harassment”, said Mrs Mazambane.
“At tertiary institutions we have heard that there are sexually transmitted degrees and sexually transmitted distinctions, that is not our culture. It shows we are losing our cultural values”.
NUST Vice Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo applauded ZGC for raising awareness about harassment at universities.
“Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, either students or staff. The step taken by ZGC to craft a national policy on sexual harassment will help us to curb these acts at our institutions”, said Prof Dlodlo.
Mrs Mazambane said distribution of explicit information like pornography is another form of sexual harassment but a lot of people are not aware of that.
“The Cyber Security law forbids distribution of explicit information and some parts of the Act say messages need to be timely, age specific, culturally sensitive and match the values and laws of society”.
She urged victims of sexual harassment to report as soon as possible.
“Not reporting cases on time makes investigations difficult. How will you buttress your story? Report as soon as possible so that the perpetrator will be held accountable.
“As a commission we are suggesting that university students or staff members can be trained by ZGC about sexual harassment issues so that they can be our focal point or ambassadors”.
Recently, the BBC produced a documentary on sexual harassment at tertiary universities in Nigeria and Ghana which shows how horrible sexual harassment is because some students dropped out of university. — @missngara