Member of Parliament (MP) for Luveve Constituency, Stella Ndlovu has urged women to confront all forms of corruption including sextortion.
Sextortion refers to the abuse of power to obtain a sexual benefit or advantage.
This came out during a Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) International Women`s` Day event in Bulawayo on Saturday.
The celebrations were held under the theme ‘I am generation equality, Raising Women’s Rights’.
Speaking during the event, Hon Ndlovu who was the guest of honour, said there is a need to encourage women to desist from, reject and report all forms of corruption.
“Corruption affects the socio-economic rights of the citizens which in turn widens the gap between the rich and the poor. Women continue to be on the receiving end,” she said.
“As we fight for equality, women’s rights, we need to also confront all forms of corruption including sextortion. We need to encourage women to desist from, reject and report all forms of corruption.”
She added that women should use the available institutions to ensure they confront all forms of corruption.
“It is evident that there is a need for concerted efforts in confronting and challenging all forms of gendered corruption. I am confident that advocacy initiatives will continue not only this month but throughout the year,” she said.
“Let’s use the institutions available to ensure that we do not only fight for equality but use the same energy to confront all forms of corruption.”
Meanwhile, TIZ legal assistant, Thubelihle Ncube said sextortion has gained prominence over the years.
“There are gender-specific forms of corruption which are disproportionately experienced by women such as sextortion. The phenomenon of sextortion where sexual favours are used as a currency for corrupt practices have gained prominence in recent years,” she said.
“Women are being forced or cornered into performing sexual services as an exchange for services. These are forms of corruption that are not always recognised as corruption and lightly to be important due to a culture of shaming and victim-blaming and lack of legal frameworks that speak to these gaps.”
Ncube said TIZ has started women empowerment circles to discuss corruption-related issues.
“TIZ has since started what we call women empowerment circles, through these circles, we create a safe hub for women to discuss corruption-related issues, it is through this platform that will enable us to learn and discover how corruption affects women,” she said.
Proportional Representation (MP) Jasmine Toffa said at the moment there is no legal framework in Parliament that deals with sextortion.
“Currently, there is no legal framework that is deliberate for sextortion, currently used and alluded by other members of the panel is the criminal law, codification and reform Act. Currently, concerning sextortion I am confident to say there is nothing we are working on in Parliament, I think it’s important to look into it,” said MP Toffa.
Member of Parliament for Pumula constituency Schelesile Mahlangu said women should starting lobbying for sextortion law.
“People should start talking about sextortion because as MPs we do not create laws but we are only there to take what is coming from people. If people start talking we take such issues as they are, as long as its an issue coming from people it will pass,” said Mahlangu.