Women Cant Rape Men According to Zimbabwean Law

DO you all still remember those days a few years back when newspapers would be flooded with stories of women who would target drunk unsuspecting men, have sex with them without their consent for the purposes of harvesting sperms? Almost every headline screamed “Women Rapists On The Loose.” But do you know what the Zimbabwean law says about rape and the procedures one should take reporting a rape case?

By Michael Gwarisa

According to Zimbabwe’s Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, it is impossible for a woman to rape a man and only a man is capable of raping a woman. Rape according to Zimbabwean law is forced penetration and due to their biological make up, a woman’s sexual organ cannot penetrate the male program thus making it impossible for women to rape men.

Speaking at a media sensitization workshop on reporting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) that was held recently in Harare, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) Director, Abigail Matsvayi said even though the law states that a woman cannot rape a man, it doesn’t necessarily mean a woman cannot sexually abuse a man and the penalty for sexually abusing men is equivalent to that of rape.

In terms of the Criminal Law Codification and reform Act, it defines rape as sexual intercourse that has happened without consent whereby a male is raping a female. I think this one is important because there were times when we were reading cases in the newspapers about women raping men.

“If you look at the dialogue around that, yes it looks like rape to all of us but in terms of the law, a female cannot rape a man. Only the male organ can penetrate the female organ without consent. If we are reporting cases like that we need to be aware of this and that’s not to say men are not sexually abused by women. They are, but in terms of the definition of the law, that will not be categorized as rape, that is termed aggravated indecent assault which still carries the same penalty as rape cases but its termed differently,” said Matsvayi.

She added that it was essential for rape and aggravated indecent assault survivors to know the difference of the two before they file police reports or court claims after being violated. She said there are essentially two options through which sexual violence can report their cases. It’s either the survivor is making a criminal report which starts from the police or making a claim through the civil process which starts from the magistrate court.

“We also have issues around marital rape. This is rape that is essentially happening between married individuals which the law says is a crime. Those are the laws that give us the basis of what is sexual gender-based violence and what is harmful cultural practices in terms of the law.

“Some terrains are highly contested particularly cultural practices. The issues of appeasing spirits with the girl child is one contested issue from the perspective that people say it is our culture. There are some areas that are highly contested but I think above all, we are all guided by the law therefore the appeasing of spirits by the girls is something that the law condemns. The law also talks about forced wife inheritance.”

Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, the Protocol on the multi-Sectoral Management of Sexual Abuse and Violence In Zimbabwe, gives the parameters to the response services for survivors of violence and talks about the different stakeholders involved in the case reporting process.

The purposes of the protocol include safeguarding the right of survivors of SGBV, guaranteeing that they receive a holistic package of age and gender sensitive survivor centered services for their psychosocial well-being and protection by the welfare and justice systems. The protocol also includes providing a standard set of age and gender sensitive procedures that must be undertaken to ensure the holistic response to survivors of SGBV.

The Protocol also seeks to strengthen and clarify the roles and responsibilities between service providers and agencies that have statutory and thus obligatory responsibilities in the delivery of age and gender sensitive, survivor centered services thereby enhancing their credibility and accountability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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