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Human rights advocate Rita Marque Mbatha wins USD180,000-00 Damages for Sexual Harassment

by Agencies
02 Dec 2021 at 14:02hrs | Views
In a landmark case the High Court in Harare has awarded damages of USD180,000-00 to our Executive Director and International Alliance Representative and human rights advocate, Rita Marque Mbatha.

We recognise Rita's extraordinary range of work more broadly in particular justice for the victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. Rita Marque Mbatha has worked tirelessly on behalf of women and children who have been abused. Rita's willingness to offer herself as an outspoken and dedicated opponent of sexual abuse and a defender of the rule of law, has brought great esteem not just to herself, but to Women's Comfort Corner Foundation and the International Alliance of Women. The IAW is in consultative status, category general, with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, enjoys participatory status with the Council of Europe, and is a member of the European Women's Lobby.

Her work has often been accompanied by a massive emotional and personal toll, yet she has never shirked what she considers to be her responsibility. Her record is a testament to the possibilities of principled advocacy and to the heights of personal sacrifice.

Vanessa Gabriellah Hollway and Lisa Lunga said: "it was now a core priority of Women's Comfort Corner Foundation to ensure organisations understand and are prepared on how to deal with sexual harassment at the workplace or face financial consequences and have their images ruined. There is no place for sexual harassment at any workplace. Sexual harassment is both unlawful and entirely unacceptable.

Women's Comfort Corner Foundation strongly endorses the statements made by Justice Mafusire in his Judgement where he said in paragraph 1 of his judgement:

"She has been to Supreme Court. She is back in this court. She strives for closure. Any lesser mortal would have probably have given up. Plainly, the plaintiff is no lesser mortal. Her tenacity and fighting spirit have moved mountains. She is still fighting. This judgement only settles half the case".

The sexual harassment occurred between 2002 - 2003. Women's Comfort Corner Foundation welcomes the commitment of the courts in delivering justice for the victims and survivors of sexual abuse. The attrition rate of women at the workplace is high and experiences of sexual harassment are a key reason why women leave the workplace. The sexual harassment is damaging and costly – for individuals and for firms. It should be the norm to allow and encourage victims and survivors to report sexual harassment without fear of being disbelieved or retaliated against and allow the real prevalence of the problem to surface, ultimately resulting in action that makes our workplaces, schools, and society safer for everyone. Visibility is key to reducing shame and stigma.

Source - Agencies