THE Spotlight Initiative in Zimbabwe on Saturday, May 13, 2023 hosted a #ShakeOffGBV Zumba Session to remind communities of the harm Gender Based Violence (GBV) poses in as far as blocking women and girls from realizing their full potential.
By Michael Gwarisa
According to the 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey, about one in three women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence, and about one in four women have experienced sexual violence, since the age of 15. With elections approaching, fears are that more women and girls could be exposed to various acts of violence at the hands of male perpetrators.
In an interview on the side-lines of the #ShakeOffGBV Zumba session in Harare, Audrey Charamba, the Chairperson Civil Society Reference Group under the Spotlight Initiative said ending GBV was not a one man’s job.
We are participating in the context that we are saying all Civil Society players and actors in different spaces should be able to have a voice and to participate actively in mitigating GBV,” said Charamba.
“As it were, over the years, we launched the Zumba #ShackingOffGBV because we are saying when you are stressed and frustrated, you need an avenue to throw that anger away. We are saying the Zumba, #ShackingOffGBV program is merely about saying lets shake it off and lets all be ambassadors of mitigating GBV in our different spaces.”
From its inception in 2019, the Spotlight Initiative (SI) has had many gains in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful practices against women and girls in Zimbabwe. The overall goal of the Spotlight Initiative in Zimbabwe has been for women and girls to realize their full potential in a violence-free, gender-responsive and inclusive Zimbabwe.
“As Zimbabwe, you might be aware that the country made three commitments of selecting three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with one of them being the promotion of Gender Equality. There is no way you can promote gender equality with high incidence of gender based violence. So we are saying zero tolerance to GBV.
“The other two SDGs are Goal 3 on good health and well-being and Goal 16 on inclusive and peaceful societies. We are going towards elections and we know that women tend to suffer a lot around GBV. Women in conflict zones tend to be used as victims of violence and we are saying as we go towards elections, every one of us must play their role to fight violence against women and girls.”
The event also featured an open mic session with participants, testimonials from GBV survivors, and solidarity remarks from the government, private sector and civil society in solidarity with Spotlight.
Meanwhile, Shamwari Yemwanasikana Development and Partnership manager, Lisa Bonongwe said fighting GBV was not a 16 Days of activism event.
“Sometimes when we talk about GBV, we forget that even the young girls are also going through GBV. There is GBV in relationships, there is also Sexual Gender Based Violence. Most of the GBV cases we are receiving in our communities’ actually involves Sexual Gender Based violence.
“It even involves physical violence and violence against children as young as 15 who are dating older men. We are saying let us work hand in hand so that our women in our communities are protected. The whole point is we are living no one behind,” said Lisa.
Other organisations that were presents include Saywhat, AWET, SASA, CHILDLINE among others.