Call for Multi-Faceted Approach to GBV

By Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Health

The government has called for a multi-stakeholder approach in the fight against Gender-Based Violence in Zimbabwe which has increased over time particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

GBV is one of the major challenges that women in Zimbabwe are facing with one in two reporting that they have been abused by current or former partners.

Speaking at the launch of the “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” campaign by Population Solutions for Health and the Swedish Embassy, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development deputy minister Jennifer Mhlanga said prevention played a central role in efforts to eradicate and remove the root causes of gender-based violence.

“It’s critical that all partners put in as much effort towards the GBV response, and have a strongly coordinated and effective multi-sectoral approach into GBV prevention.

“Interventions that engage young people and human rights activism can make an important contribution to such preventative work,” she said.

The World Health Organisation says GBV takes many forms that comprise not only rape and attempted rape but also sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, forced early marriage, domestic violence, marital rape, trafficking and female genital mutilation which can lead to serious consequences on physical and psychological health and social well-being.

According to the current Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey, 35 per cent of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence since age 15 while 14 per cent of women in the same age group have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime.

“These figures are a cause of concern, and it is particularly worrisome that a lot of the violence is perpetrated by a spouse and current or former boyfriend. At times violence occurs even during such a critical time as pregnancy and sadly violence during pregnancy is highest among women aged 15-19 at 11 per cent,” said Deputy Minister Mhlanga.

Zimbabwe along with the rest of the world will commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, starting on November 25 to December 10.

Swedish Embassy deputy head of mission Professor Berhollet Kaboru the anti-GBV campaign was important in that it sought to teach men that they should love and protect women and not abuse them.

“This clearly shows that engaging men and boys to change their behaviour remains a key component of the GBV response. We need men to be at the forefront of creating and maintaining this dialogue to help perpetrators of violence to adopt positive conflict resolution and anger management skills.

“We need these conversations to occur among men themselves to help perpetrators of violence understand the pain that they cause through GBV and that there are always alternatives to using violence,” he said.

Source: The Herald

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