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Women Hail Con Court Ruling On Age Of Consent


Womens Coalition of Zimbabwe has hailed the historic Constitutional Court ruling which raised the age of consent to sex for young girls from 16 to 18 years saying it is a fulfillment of advocacy initiatives by the women’s movement.

By Adelaide Kuudzerema

Addressing journalists in Harare today, Zimbabwe Women’s Lawyers Association representative Abigail Machai said the ruling is not only a fulfillment of the women’s movement but also an answer to the gap in the law.

“We are glad in this historic milestone as it now protects the girls aged between 16 and 17 from sexual violence and the ruling sets the message clear that a child who cannot consent to marriage cannot consent to sex,” she said.

According to section 81 of the Zimbabwe Constitution, a child is a person under the age of 18 who enjoys fundamental rights and to be protected from sexual exploitation and any form of abuse.

Zimbabwe Blind Women Trust representative Aileen Sithole also hailed the ruling saying it protects girls with disabilities who are commonly targeted because of their limited physical mobility.

“The ruling has put girls interests at the heart of the law and it is a sign of hope and we are still calling upon policy makers to review the national legislation and ensure that practices and customs that perpetuate sexual violence on girls living with disabilities are done away with,” said Sithole.

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