Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

16 days of Activism Against Violence Against Women

TOP del.icio.us

With only two days to go until the beginning of the 16 days of Activism Against Violence Against Women, the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section played host to a presentation on the campaign, led by young Zimbabwean women’s rights activist, Cleopatra Ndlovu. She defined gender-based violence (GBV) as an umbrella term encompassing “any harm that is perpetrated against a person’s will, because of their sex – this violence has a negative impact on the physical, the psychological health, the development and the identity of the person”.

The theme for this year’s campaign is: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women! Ndlovu said that the focus on militarism last year and this year, is due to the rise in conflicts and political unrest all over the world. In Zimbabwe, election-time has become synonymous with violence (especially rape), and many of our women shudder to think what will happen to them before and during next year’s polls.

“We live in a country that is not concerned about the issues of GBV,” said Ndlovu as she highlighted the lack of progress or significant change in the situation of women, despite the many protocols, treaties and declarations signed by the nations with regards to discrimination against women and the increase of increase of women in decision-making positions – Zimbabwe has failed to reach the 30% by 2005 goal, as female representation in Parliament to date, falls short of this target.

But the situation is not completely dismal, according to Ndlovu, as women have made huge strides already:

- Establishment of Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development
- National Gender Policy
- Domestic Violence Act
- Victim friendly units

Despite this progress Ndlovu says women still have a long way to go. Another problem she highlighted was the fact that the people who are at the forefront of the fight against GBV are mainly women, through the many organisations who are a part of the women’s movement. The involvement and participation can make it much less of a struggle.

In conclusion, Ndlovu said that the media also had huge role to play in accurately informing the nation on the plight of women in reporting on gender-based violence.

Comments are closed.