By A Correspondent- Organised violence and torture in Zimbabwe affect women during protests more than any other civilian, hence they end up not participating in peaceful protests.
This came out during a Zoom meeting organised by the Research Advocacy and Unit (RAU) on the launch of a report on organised violence and torture in dealing with protests in Zimbabwe.
Senior Researcher at RAU Tony Reeler said women are the most affected gender when it comes to protests in Zimbabwe, where they are physically tortured, unlawfully detained and abducted together with their family members.
“From a report on OVT against women, they are abused through unlawful detention, abductions of self or family and they are physically tortured,” said Reeler.
He said that organised violence and torture (OVT) against women is allegedly perpetrated by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) who include Riot Squad, uniformed branch as well as Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
“The perpetrators who take the lead in the harassment of women during protests are police, the Army and politicians.
“It is sad to note that the police and the army are the ones on the forefront of torturing women when they are supposed to be protecting citizens by allowing them freedom to exercise their constitutional rights to protest and demonstrate.
“We focused on women because they join men in protests and their participation is a symbol that the protests or demonstrations will be peaceful since women are not violent in nature,” said Reeler.
He went on to say that the number of people who are willing to protest is decreasing with each year as a demonstration is a sign of hostility in Zimbabwe.
“The right to demonstrate is viewed as being hostile to a certain extent, to be an activist is to be a victim of violence and torture and you take risks of being unlawfully harmed,” said Reeler.
The report recommended that the right to demonstrate and protest must be honoured as well as the right to assembly and association. It also recommended that ZRP should provide protection for citizens during and after protests.-TellZim