‘Let’s collectively fight domestic violence’

By Farai Matiashe

The Anti-Domestic Violence Council of Zimbabwe (ADVCZ) has called on the public to join hands with responsible authorities and civic groups to end domestic violence (DV) by reporting cases to the police to allow justice to prevail.

Speaking at a media briefing in Harare yesterday, ADVCZ chairperson Eunice Njovana said ending DV would need a collective effort.

“Ending DV will require a co-ordinated and concerted community response in which we all play a part. It is understandable to be shocked when DV occurs, but we must also understand its root causes. We must know that we can prevent DV. And together, we can prevent a child from having to experience the abuse,” she said.

Njovana said ADVCZ was advising communities and the victims to report such cases and never to remain in violent relationships.

“We are, therefore, calling on communities to develop a culture of zero tolerance to DV regardless of its scope. Community leaders must speak openly against DV and create community-based responses. Families have to unequivocally condemn DV and challenge prevailing beliefs, attitudes, norms and values that feed its normalisation and perpetuation,” she said.

Njovana said policymakers should commit themselves and play their part in ending DV by imposing stiff penalties on perpetrators and service providers to promptly provide quality services to victims of sexual violence.

Anyone could be a victim of DV because it can happen in every community and occurs across socio-economic, ethnic, racial and education background, she noted.

ADVCZ co-ordinator Magdalene Chavunduka said the organisation had put in place mechanisms to empower victims of DV with skills to improve their livelihood by enabling them to sustain themselves.

“The (Women Affairs) ministry has platforms through which those abused can be empowered with skills. They can also give them loans or even refer them to the Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank because there are some women who feel like not reporting cases of domestic violence fearing loss of support when their husbands are arrested,” she said.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe Republic Police revealed that in 2016, there were 1 993 cases of DV reported by males while 17 673 were cases against women and in 2017, 2 461 men reported DV cases while 16 067 were reported by women.

From January to September 2018, 2 183 cases of DV were committed against men while 10 064 were cases against women.

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