HomeNewsYear-round campaign against GBV launched

Year-round campaign against GBV launched

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TAG a Life International (TaLI) founder and director Nyaradzo Mashayamombe has said the justice delivery system in Zimbabwe has, to a certain extent, failed women in their efforts to end gender-based violence (GBV).

Tinashe Sibanda

She said perpetrators of violence go free, resulting in women not reporting such cases to the police.

However, the United Nations Women, The Women’s Trust (TWT) and TaLi recently launched Orange Day in consultation with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, which will be commemorated on the 25th of each month aimed at raising awareness on gender-based violence against young women in Zimbabwe.

“Orange Day emphasises at addressing violence in public places especially where it involves abuse of young women, following the incident that occurred at fourth Street bus terminus where a young woman was stripped of her clothes,” Mashayamombe said.

She said most women did not report cases of violence as in both public or private spaces it has become a norm, yet it is criminal.
Mashayamombe added that it was not enough to raise awareness during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in November, as it should become a 365-day event that will be commemorated on the 25th of each month.

“As we undertake the campaign, women will be supported and strengthened to report cases of abuse. Stakeholders such as the police and other service providers will be engaged to ensure that favourable systems are in place to ensure women receive assistance in reporting violence,” Mashayamombe said.

She said local authorities in consultation with the Orange Day Advocacy Platform would lobby for measures that ensure that lives of women are secure in public spaces especially at bus terminuses.
“The City Council, the mayor and other stakeholders have to deliver and it is with this initiative and platform that we will engage them,” she said.

Mashamombe said GBV had reached alarming levels which ought to make leaders uncomfortable and must be treated as a state of emergency.

“The lives of women have become valueless as one in every three women experiences some level of violence. This should worry a nation that prides itself so much in as far as security and literacy levels are concerned. What is the purpose of a high security system if it doesn’t work for women and children who constitute 52% of its citizens?

“What is the pride in a high literacy rate of a nation whose men publicly harass and torment women violating basic human rights and its Constitution,” a furious Mashayamombe asked.

She said the GBV levels have escalated owing to the fact that perpetrators were not getting deterrent sentences, adding that there was need for a standardisation of penalties.

Some of the reasons why there is a high rate of GBV could be that families discourage women and girls from reporting, and if they do report, sometimes they are stigmatised by relatives and neighbours.

Danish Head of Mission, Erik Brøgger Rasmussen who spoke at the launch said: “A third of all girls experience violence in the form of rape and beatings before the age of 18. My own two girls are 13 and 11, so this figure really hurts and scares me.

“Half of all the women in Zimbabwe experience gender-based violence at some point in time during their lives. And equally grim and scary: most often the perpetrators are known by the victim. It’s their uncle, father, brother or partner. The perpetrator is always a man.

To all men present here today I therefore urge: go out and make a change. You can be strong examples and advocates for ending gender-based violence. Simply say NO and convince your friends, brothers, uncles and fathers to do the same. You can make a huge difference.
“I believe it is possible to change the statistics. Monthly Orange Day activities and other gender programmes are critical. Denmark fully supports Orange Day and urges each and everyone here to participate in this campaign throughout the year.

“We can all give our own small contribution. Let’s agree that all of us will be wearing an orange dress every 25th of the month for all of 2015. Feel free to check on me in my office throughout the year. And then let action speak. Boys, stay away from violence and abuse. It is absolutely okay to be attracted to girls and women. But it is not okay at all to abuse them. If your charm is not enough, then go work on it rather than [use] force.”

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