BY VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI
THE Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) has called on police to treat cases of gender-based violence (GBV) against women and girls as a matter of urgency to eradicate the vice.
In a statement early this week, WCoZ said: “We are concerned about the increasing violence against women and girls and the untimely reaction in detecting, investigating and resolving cases of such violence within households and communities.
“Therefore, we call upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to accelerate their response mechanisms in detecting, investigating, and bringing to justice cases of violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe.
“In the current Zimbabwean context, the gravity of violence against women is deepening, with the majority of the recent cases disturbingly resulting in loss of lives of women, and violating their fundamental human right to life, guaranteed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
WCoZ said GBV reverses gains the country has made on gender equality, adding that access to justice is an issue of dignity, security and integrity for all women and girls.
“We thus emphasise that a good quality justice system requires that all components of the system adhere to international standards of competence, impartiality, gender–responsiveness and provide, in a timely fashion, appropriate and effective remedies for women to preserve their lives.”
Women’s rights’ groups say the country witnessed an increase in GBV cases since COVID-19 lockdowns were introduced two years ago, including psychological, physical, sexual and economic forms of violence against women and girls.
Statistics show that nearly 40% of the country’s women have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
It has also been reported that one in three of these women experienced physical or sexual violence before reaching the age of 18.
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