Police major perpetrators of sexual harassment: Parly
BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
POLICE have been singled out as major perpetrators of sexual harassment against women throughout the country.
This was revealed in investigations conducted by the joint Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, and Women Affairs to ascertain the prevalence of sexual harassment in the country and its impact on victims.
The committee conducted investigations after receiving a petition from Emthonjeni Women’s Forum on sexual harassment in the workplace.
Findings revealed that sexual harassment was common at various workplaces in the country, but police were cited on several occasions during the inquiry where they were being accused of demanding sexual favours from women while performing their duties.
Chairperson of the Public Service Parliamentary Committee Emma Ncube said sexual harassment affected both males and females in the country but there was lack of awareness about the practice, with the public confusing sexual harassment with rape and other sexual offences.
“The joint committees were informed that cases of sexual harassment were very prevalent in workplaces, colleges, universities, churches, informal sector, public spaces such as bus termini, online platforms and social media,” Ncube said.
The committee recommended a stand-alone Act of Parliament that criminalises sexual harassment and also augments all other relevant provisions existing in other pieces of legislation to curb the vice.
“While sexual harassment is regulated by various pieces of legislation such as the Labour Act, Public Service Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, all fall short of fully addressing sexual harassment in its various forms,” Ncube said.
Parliament gave the Home Affairs ministry an ultimatum for it to put in place measures to end corruption among security officers dealing with sexual harassment cases.
Informal traders have often accused the police of demanding sexual favours for them to be exempted from arrest or