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Horrifying statistics draw attention to gender-based violence
- The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign
November 13, 2012
violence is a sensitive, harrowing community issue that affects
1 in 3 women in Zimbabwe. It is a crime, and although legislation
has been enacted to try and prevent it, many women find themselves
in a position where they are vulnerable to physical, psychological,
sexual and emotional abuse.
that despite active campaigns from women's groups, government ministries
and NGO's, domestic violence continues to be a major problem in
Zimbabwe. From January to May 2012, a total of 3,141 domestic violence
cases were reported to police, not taking into account all those
victims too scared to make an official report and instead bear their
wounds in silence. Most shockingly, 60% of the murder cases brought
before the High Court are a direct result of domestic violence.
the World Health Organisation (WHO), domestic violence is defined
as: "the intentional use of physical force or power, (threatened
or actual) against oneself, another person or against a group or
community that either results in (or has a high likelihood of resulting
in), injury, death, psychological harm, reduced development or deprivation".
The most common
perpetrator of domestic violence against women is a current or former
husband or sex-partner. According to the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic
Health Survey released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency,
30 percent of women have experienced physical violence at some point
since the age of 15. The passing of the Domestic Violence Bill in
2007 and the subsequent setting up of the Anti-Domestic Violence
Council to enforce this law, has had limited results. It has become
important, now more than ever with the rising statistics, to raise
awareness of the scourge of domestic and other forms of violence
against women in Zimbabwean communities.
The 16 Days
of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign is a global initiative,
founded by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) in New
York in 1991 to raise awareness of the issue and help change behaviors.
Known as ‘The 16 Days Campaign', it begins annually
on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based
Violence, and ends on 10 December, International Human Rights Day,
dates chosen to emphasize that gender-based violence is a violation
of human rights. The 16 Days Campaign is critical because it brings
the human rights framework to the fore and uses it to make sure
that both state and non-state actors around the world are aware
and accountable. The Campaign is successful because of the activism
of millions of women and tens of thousands of organizations worldwide,
who are committed to ending gender-based violence.
This year the 16 Days Campaign continues with the theme: "From
Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism
and End Violence Against Women!"
Women Artists Join the Campaign
Harare arts development organisation Pamberi Trust has been a part
of this global call to action, providing a platform at the Book
Cafe through the FLAME project (Female Literary, Arts and Music
Enterprise) to raise awareness of and join in the protest against
gender-based violence, through music, poetry and spoken-word; films,
discussions and workshops.
Last year in
the lead up to the 16 Days, FLAME coordinated women artists for
the launch of the "Non-violence Toolkit" developed by
the Women's Action
Group (WAG) for women in high density areas of Harare. This
toolkit included a booklet with information and guidance to help
women understand their rights and how to seek help should they find
themselves in an abusive situation. As part of this effort and to
mark the launch of this booklet, FLAME coordinated and managed two
major concerts in Chitungwiza and Highfield featuring over thirty
women artists in September 2011.
This year FLAME
is once again proud to be actively involved in the 16 Days Against
Gender Violence awareness campaign to stimulate action and discussion
on this issue, with a powerful programme of activities lined up
at The Book Cafe from 24 November to 8 December. These include music
and poetry performances from some of Zimbabwe's most talented women
artists; discussions, film-screenings, and ‘A Workshop for
Women Artists by Women Artists'. FLAME's special guest
for the 16 Days programme is acclaimed international US hip-hop
artist, Akua Naru.
Visit the Pamberi Trust
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