|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) issued a press statement on Monday addressing the rape of a 10-year-old by a senior police officer.
Homosexuality is criminalised in Zimbabwe and the current laws lack distinction between consensual same sex conduct and rape for LGBTI persons. This lack of distinction in the law and the media "promotes the dangerous myth that homosexual men are automatically rapists and abusers of children."
Statement on Media reports of a senior police officer charged for allegedly sodomising his brother’s ten-year-old son
GALZ is outraged by media reports that a senior police officer was arrested and charged for allegedly sodomising a ten year old. We deplore sexual atrocities against children and we strongly condemn the actions of the police officer whose role in society is to protect the very same child that he allegedly raped on several occasions before threatening him with unspecified action.
It is clear that distinctions need to be made between consensual and enforced sodomy given the fact that the officer now faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault instead of RAPE. This distinction needs to be made as these confusions have led to a situation of injustice since the law on sodomy lacks clarity, certainty and consistency.
Thinking on sodomy in Zimbabwean society is muddled and the issues need to be clarified in order that justice be done: sodomy per se is not wrong or harmful to society but rape, sexual abuse, physical violence, abuse of authority and sexual relations between adults and minors are criminal acts and it is correct that they be punishable by law.
There is no distinction under Zimbabwean law between consensual same sex conduct, which GALZ believes should be decriminalised, and enforced sodomy that should be retermed rape. Recently, there has been a trend in the media to equate sodomy with rape. This is alarming because it promotes the dangerous myth that homosexual men are automatically rapists and abusers of children.
It is deeply shameful that, in the interests of preserving cultural taboos, Zimbabwean society does not permit children to be properly informed about matters of sex in order that they might have the chance to save themselves from sexual predators.
We call for a review of the sodomy laws by decriminalising consensual sodomy and replacing the term enforced sodomy with rape. Only then can justice be done in this country.
A similar situation last April in Kenya resulted in the Kenya's Nyawek Coalition calling on the media to focus on assault, not on a person's sexual orientation.