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Home > News > GENDER BASED VIOLENCE MUST BE PUT TO A STOP: A MAJOR CRISIS WITHIN A CRISIS DURING THE COVID 19 INDUCED LOCKDOWN

GENDER BASED VIOLENCE MUST BE PUT TO A STOP: A MAJOR CRISIS WITHIN A CRISIS DURING THE COVID 19 INDUCED LOCKDOWN


A clear communication, listening skills, self-control, positive attitude, assertiveness, conflict resolution, empathy, depersonalization, taking responsibility and a sense of humor are fundamental to building a good customer relations in business, that’s according to Robert Gonye a Herald Newspaper Correspondent.

On a similar note Afro-Acoustic Music outfit Mookomba’s song Baka Lubale encourages family members to greet each other in every morning in order to keep themselves united and working with respect for their roles productively and thus limiting domestic violence and or Gender Based Violence. It emerged during a colloquium or dialogue on Gender Based Violence during the Covid 19 Pandemic Induced Lockdown organized by Southern Africa Trust (SAT) who envisions a society with a Gender Equal Health and a Gender Based Violence free society at the Harare International Conference.

In a response move to the global crises, Gender Based Violence an emerging major crisis within a crisis during the Covid 19 induced lockdown. Critical advocacies in a presentation by SAT hinted all stakeholders to “Assume that Gender Based Violence is taking place even if there is no reliable data, develop standard operating procedures on that management of gender based violence, train stakeholders on the protocols and standard operating procedures, establish toll free lines and crisis centers for easy access of services, build capacity of local cadres in response to GBV….” Just but to summarize a few targeted success outcomes in the fight against GBV.  Tinashe Chitunhu  of Musasa Projects  defined gender Based Violence (GBV)  as a wide range  of abuses  that include but not limited to sexual threats, exploitation, humiliation, assault, molestation , domestic violence, incest , involuntary prostitution, harmful traditional practices  and or child marriages amongst other dislikables.

Stakeholders should speak with one voice to the government and law societies to spearhead the minimum mandatory sentence for rape and Sexual Gender Based Violence. She Said.

According to the SAT presentations (GBV) needs not to be personalized or stigmatized. “Globally , emerging data has showed that violence against women and children in particular domestic violence has intensified  since the start of the Covid 19 outbreak , leading the United nations to name violence against women and girls a shadow pandemic. During times of crisis such as Covid19 women and girls face an increased risk of exposure to gender based violence.”  Similarly on the local scene “During the Covid 19 pandemic, in Zimbabwe reports of violence increased by 38.5 percent, physical violence increased by 43.8 percent, emotional abuse rose by 80.3 percent  and economic violence  rose by 42.4 percent. Zimbabwe reported an increase in the number of violence against women and children at health centers.” Read the presentation in part.

 According to a  United nations post, “Accompanying the crisis has been a spike in domestic violence reporting, at exactly the time that services, including rule of law, health and shelters, are being diverted to address the pandemic,”[1] Efforts to mitigate the Gender Based violence response during the Covid 19 in Zimbabwe according to the presentation faced challenges which include but are not limited to ;That the first two weeks saw almost all government ministries and departments, and civil society organizations  involved  in the gender based violence closing shop fear of injection and also a compliance to lock down measures. Gender based violence was not a fore seen crisis, distorted referral pathway as some key stakeholders had scaled down operations or were operating from home,  de- prioritization of gender based violence service by key stakeholders.

There is plenty credible information of survivors being turned away at Police Stations and hospitals as they sought services, Curfew measures meant that survivors would receive services for a limited amount of time each day just but to paraphrase a few observations on the report by SAT.

Dr. Mildred Mushunje, the SAT director gave a traditional welcome to the house and enhanced a fruitful dialogue through welcome remarks through a curtsey and traditional handclaps. Hamida Mawuto from SAT facilitated an ensuing panel discussion which had Pastor Nhamburo (AFM), Chief Munyawiri, Chief and Amai Makope, Vanessa Chivizhe (Junior Parliamentarian) and Trevor Nyakudya  as panelists.

The panel in summary brought to light that a cultural renaissance centered on a comprehensive parent child sexuality education should be upheld, Chiefs were restless as they battled to ensure health gains for their communities besides annoying high levels of teen age pregnancies which would result in school dropouts.  There were high levels of stressed as the youth engaged in substance abuse, bad eating habits , a lack of seriousness with school which would eventually lead to Gender Based Violence. The junior parliamentarian present also demanded  that students should  be subsidized with internet access and relevant study material, cultural education, computer child protection  and sadly schools opened but the teachers did not turn up to prepare students for examinations which is a serious mark of gender based violence.

Parliamentarian; Hon. Brian Dube envisioned Gender activists to prioritize protecting   women and vulnerable groups ahead of few men who complain about GBV, he was however  quick to alert the house that the courts of law treat Sexual Gender Based violence Cases equally. Church leaders and Traditional leaders play important roles in building a gender based violence free country.

It also emerged during the discussions that all sectors are behind the no under eighteen marriages law but there is need to speed up the availability of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights facilities to the youth .Pastors and church leaders were also urged to interpret Biblical scriptures accurately whilst giving context relevant expositions. It was also suggested by the panel that change of times, technology, environments should not erode Zimbabwean cultural values which are long overdue for teaching at home and in schools.

The Colloquium ended on an exciting note as multi-instrumentalist Ted Wengoma demonstrated musical virtuosity on the jembe drum through singing and slaps.

The event was attended by Honorable. Parliamentarian; Brian Dube Non-governmental representatives, Dr. Mildred Mushunje and staff  from SAT  panelists Pastor Nhamburo (AFM), Chief Munyawiri, Chief and Amai Makope, Vanessa Chivizhe (Junior Parliamentarian) and Trevor Nyakudya, Media fraternity and amongst  several other diginitaries.

STORY BY TENDAI A. SAUTA 29-10-2020 (0772761139)


[1] https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism

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