Role of the police in access to justice for sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against diverse women in Zimbabwe
Authors: Munatsi Shoko, Kerry Vermaak and Annika Rudman
Affiliations: PhD Candidate, MA Population Studies (UKZN), Lecturer, Nehanda Centre for Gender and Culture Studies, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo; PhD Public Health, Lecturer, Population Studies Unit, University of KwaZulu-Natal; LLB (Lund), LLM (Lund) PhD (Gothenburg), Professor of International Law, Department of Public Law, University of Stellenbosch
Source: Stellenbosch Law Review, Volume 33 Issue 1, 2022, p. 123 – 138
Bound by the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe (“Zimbabwean Constitution”), as informed by regional human rights law, Zimbabwean police should facilitate access to justice for everyone. This article interrogates the lived realities of diverse women in terms of how the police in Zimbabwe respond when they report cases of sexual and gender-based violence (“SGBV”). Using qualitative data this article also interrogates institutional practices questioning the alignment of laws and actions to the Zimbabwean Constitution. The findings show that the reluctance of the police to efficiently and appropriately engage with SGBV cases reported by diverse women is encouraged by the homophobic context in which these take place. The ability of the police to provide justice to diverse women who experience SGBV can be strengthened by repealing the laws that criminalise same-sex relations and sodomy and by implementing regional human rights law as interpreted through Resolution 275 of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.