‘Freedom from all forms of violence’:Using Zimbabwe’s new Constitution to encourage rape law reform

  • D Coltart


The right to ‘freedom from all forms of violence from public or private  sources’, enshrined in Zimbabwe’s new Constitution, could have a significant impact on efforts to end violence against women (VAW) in the country. The
right is particularly relevant in the Zimbabwean context where VAW occurs in a range of settings, from the most intimate of relationships in the home to the state’s use of rape as a political weapon. One way in which the state can fulfil its duty to address VAW is through the reform of the country’s rape law. With comparative reference to the impact of the right to freedom from violence in South African law, this article discusses three areas of Zimbabwean law that present potential obstacles to achieving justice for rape survivors: the definition of the crime of rape, the abolished but tenacious cautionary rule, and the sentencing of sexual offenders.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 1991-3877