‘Spurn unwanted sexual advances’

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TOP filmmaker Marian Kunonga has urged women in the film industry to resist unwanted sexual advances and safeguard themselves to earn the respect of male stakeholders accused of considering women in the industry as prey.

BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO

Addressing the inaugural Women in Arts Symposium on women’s visibility in the industry in Harare on Wednesday, Kunonga said many women in the sector were vulnerable to abuse.

Kunonga said women in the industry should only be intimate with someone on their terms.

“Once you enter the industry, you are vulnerable, but we should arm ourselves. Always learn to say no. When you want to have sex, let it be on your terms and not a man’s,” she said.

“If you start by dignifying yourself men will respect you.”

Media and communications consultant Patricia Mabviko concurred with Kunonga and urged fellow women to speak out against sexual harassment.

“When you are harassed, speak out. When (sexually suggestive) gestures are made, immediately say, ‘I don’t do that’ because once you say that men will respect you and that’s very critical,” she said.

Television personality Ruzivo Chonyera, who was the moderator, noted that many women in the industry had excelled without having to succumb to unwanted sexual advances.
“There are so many women who have done great things, like Mai (Rebecca) Chisamba, but have never involved themselves in scandal,” she said.

Musician Melody Muvhuti said “women have been missing in action” and encouraged her colleagues to occupy the vacuum in the industry.

Zimbabwe Music Rights Association president Edith weUtonga emphasized on the importance of competing fairly.

“We have taken it to a level where supporting one another, being a pillar or pushing the other person up, is no longer important but we pull them down all in the name of competition,” she said.

The event was organised through the support of the United States Embassy Public Affairs section.

One of the organisers, Nyari Nhongonhema, said the symposium is a platform formed to steer the industry in the direction women want.