Power Imbalances Continue To Drive Women Into Gender-Based Violence

RESEARCH and reports show that about 94% of gender based violence cases reported between March to October 2020 were against women amidst indications that men still believe in gender norms and traditional harmful practices which usually lead into violation of women’s rights.

By Paticia Mashiri

There are mainly four forms of gender-based violence which include economic, sexual, physical and emotional abuse while poverty has been identified as a leading cause of GBV.

Speaking at a GBV round table dialogue with women in the informal sector which was hosted by Women’s Action Group (WAG) as part of commemorating 16 days of activism against GBV, Sarah Mubaiwa a women’s rights activist from Chakahwata village in Seke district said husbands are the main perpetrators of violence in homes.

Men who are supposed to be the head of families are the main causes of violence in our homes. After a long hard work of selling vegetables and other crops at the market man come home and demand all the money from us which leave us stranded again because we have families to look after. The money is used to buy beer instead of looking after their families.

“We are forced to give in to our husband’s demands because we fear for our lives. It’s either you surrender all the money or you get beaten. We are advocating for safe spaces for women and young girls. We are hard workers but our achievements are derailed because of the men we are living with,” Mubaiwa said.

Mubaiwa also said that other men are not physical abusers but they emotionally abuse women which sometimes cause sudden death of women or high blood pressure.

Speaking on the side-lines of the same event, another Champion, Edna Matipangamisa of Murirwashava village, Seke district said they are at times abused economically by middlemen as they demand fresh farm produce at lower prices and mostly in bond notes and then resale at high prices in United States Dollars at Chikwanha business centre.

“We appeal to the government to help the business women at Chikwanha business centre. We are being abused by unknown thugs.  They take our crops forcefully and pay us at lower rates. We are not allowed to negotiate and charge at our own will. Let’s say for example they take a bundle of vegetables from me at 50 bond they resale at two United States dollars which pains us the farmers mostly.

“After harvesting my crops I will be looking forward to making a lot of money to take care of my grandchildren who are orphans but it seems like I do it in vain because of these thugs. We hope the responsible authorities will hear our plea and help us find a solution against these thugs,” Matipangamisa said.

Maria Chiwera, Women’s Action Group Programs Officer said women support groups should be acknowledged as they play a great role in fighting gender-based violence. She also emphasised that people should be survivor-centred which includes doing no harm to the GBV survivors.

“Let us be survivor-centred in all things we do. We should practise the principle of do no harm to survivors so that they can speak out. Our young girls should be uplifted and empowered to speak out and gender norms should be transformative,”Chiwera said.

On the same event Chiwera took time to teach the women about the importance of reporting rape within 72-hour period in which the crime would have been committed as this helps the victim to get adequate help which includes post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV prevention and pregnancy prevention.

WAG is one of the women’s rights groups in Zimbabwe which aims to protect the rights of women and girls. They are joining the rest of the world with support from Womankind in commemorating 16 days of activism against gender- based violence with a focus on women in the informal economies under the theme, #OrangeTheWorld: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!

 

 

 

 

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