By Bulawayo Correspondent
AS Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has decried rampant sexual harassment of female vendors selling their wares during late hours.
The majority of Zimbabweans have turned to vending on the streets due to the scarcity of jobs in the formal market.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, BVTA executive director, Micheal Ndiweni urged local authorities to craft laws and policies that protect vendors against sexual harassment.
“BVTA has heard reports of sexual harassment cases, especially on vendors trying to maximise on business during late hours. Vendors want to take advantage of after-work traffic in order to fend for their families.
“BVTA urges victims of rape to come out and report their cases to authorities and encourage victims to also seek counselling to deal with trauma and depression,” said Ndiweni.
The BVTA executive director said his organisation is also worried about the stigma which victims of sexual harassment suffer.
“BVTA has learnt that the exact numbers of rape and sexual assaults are notoriously difficult to confirm due to frequent impunity for perpetrators, stigma towards survivors and their subsequent silence,” said Ndiweni.
The commemorations, which started on Monday, are running under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”