Women’s Coalition launch 16-days of activism against gender-based violence

25 Nov, 2022 - 16:11 0 Views
Women’s Coalition launch 16-days of activism against gender-based violence WCOZ officials addressing the media at the launch of the 16 days of activism against gender based violence.

Suburban

Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter

THE Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) on Friday launched the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) campaign in Harare.

The 2022 campaign was launched under the theme “unite, activism to end violence against women and girls”.

The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign annually kicks off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day.

Speaking at the launch,  WCOZ vice chairperson Charity Mandishona said this year the campaign begins as the nation is recording more cases of exploitation and abuse of young girls.

She said this is the time that everyone should play their role in ending violence against women and girls.

“This year’s theme, ‘unite, activism to end violence against women and girls’ invites everyone to play their role in ending violence against women and girls, show support and solidarity to women’s rights activists and to resist the rollback on women’s rights. This comes at a time where Zimbabwe has been increasingly recording worrying cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of girls, intimate partner violence, trafficking and violence against women in elections. Research has shown that in Zimbabwe about one in four women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Impunity, patriarchal social norms, economic hardships, unbalanced power dynamics, gender inequalities, limited resources to adequately respond to GBV and the limited implementation of the law, have been the driving force behind this sad state of affairs,” she said.

Mandishona said GBV is a persistent menace that has reversed the gains of gender equality for women and girls and therefore solutions must be sustainable and capable of responding to GBV in any circumstance.

“The existing high levels of GBV in Zimbabwe driven by factors including patriarchal social norms, economic hardships, power dynamics and gender inequalities, have been exacerbated by the responses to several humanitarian and public health crises including the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. Reports from our networks indicate an increase in the number of reported GBV cases, mainly physical and sexual violence against women and girls as well as harmful practices such as child marriages among other negative vices. What is incredible to note and disheartening is that current reports on GBV cases are most likely an underestimation of the actual number of cases and magnitude of the problem. Information from existing data and evidence highlights that the great majority of women survivors of violence do not report to the police, helplines, or other service providers. In addition, as stated above, the pandemic and circumstances make it even harder for women to report or seek help,” said Mandishona.

Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) is a non-partisan national network of women’s rights organisations and activists striving for the rights of women and girls.

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