Zim cops probe ‘short dress’ assault

2014-12-23 11:26

Harare – Police in Harare say they have identified a group of thugs who stripped a woman for wearing a short dress last week in an incident that has highlighted problems of street harassment in Zimbabwe.

“We want to thank the public for their assistance in this case and we are hoping to finalise the matter any time if the woman comes forward,” the Herald newspaper reported police spokesperson Paul Nyathi as saying.

Youths working at a minibus taxi rank in the Zimbabwean capital last week dragged a young woman wearing a not-very-short floral dress out of a bus and undressed her.

A man who tried to protect her was also assaulted. A video of the attack went viral on social media, sparking outrage, but also some expressions of support for the youths.

Women in Zimbabwean cities say they are often harassed by bus rank workers, known locally as hwindis, who say that by wearing miniskirts or short dresses women are asking for punishment.

The victim of last week’s attack has still not been identified but activists are keen to support her.

The Herald said she had still not made a formal report to police. Locals speculate that she is traumatised and fears she may be blamed for provoking the attack.

“If the lady who was attacked by the thugs is willing to press charges, then we have a responsibility to support and walk with her all the way,” wrote Zimbabwean journalist @lmakombe on Twitter today.

YouTube has taken down the video of the attack, saying it violated company policy prohibiting content designed to harass or threaten.

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