Back to Index
can put a stop to gender violence and AIDS - FAMWZ
Gwature, Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe (FAMWZ)
November 14, 2001
than half of married women in the country have been or are being
battered by their husbands and other male relatives.
Yet only a handful are courageous enough to go and report to the
police to see the law take its course against such inhuman acts.
Some have blamed the different cultures in the world which portray
a man, even a male child, as a symbol of authority and women always
having to respect and at times, fear this power.
This is more so in the African culture whereby a woman cannot make
a decision whenever there is a male because their opinions are regarded
as far less important compared to that of a man.
From an early age women are taught to assume the role of subservience,
which results in most girl children who have been abused not reporting
their cases to relevant authorities, or if they did, they are ordered
to shut their mouths in order to protect the breadwinner in the
This scenario has prompted women in the world to set aside 16 days
during the months of November and December, to conscientize the
world on the negative impact of violence against women.
This annual campaign has come to be known as the "16 Days of Activism
Against Gender Violence" and is celebrated throughout the world.
From November 25 to December 10 women's groups in every region of
the world, organise public events and actions as part of the international
campaign of 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign has been
observed in Zimbabwe since 1991 and the campaign for this year will
run under the theme "Violence, Women and HIV/Aids."
This year's celebrations will focus on the men as an important tool
to make a difference in the fight against gender-related violence.
The period is viewed as a forum to attract the attention of women,
policy-makers, legislators, and the society at large on the issues
of violence against women and girl children.
Zimbabwe has no statutory instrument that protects women from violence
although it is signatory to several international conventions that
are against violence especially to women and children, such as the
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against
The co-ordinator for the campaign, Eunice Takawira said the theme
was chosen to highlight the fact that violence against women makes
them less able to decide on what they want for themselves.
"Because of the way we were brought up, women are unable to negotiate
condom use, demand monogamy and protect themselves from forced encounters,"
"High prevalence of extramarital and multi-sexual partner relationships
highlight that most men are opting to ignore the HIV/Aids prevention
public education campaign messages placing themselves and their
families at risk of contracting the deadly virus," she said.
Men who abuse their partners, she said, choose to control every
aspect of the woman's life by subjecting her to everyday torture.
"This control goes beyond livelihood; their rights and privileges
as human beings are restricted and this impinges on the woman's
reproductive and sexual rights resulting in forced intercourse when
he has other sexual partners or has an STI including HIV/Aids."
The campaign aims to make women aware of what action to take and
who to go to when confronted with violence.
Activities organised by the co-ordinating body, Women
in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), have been lined up
for this year's mass campaign scheduled to kick off next week.
Mobile theatres and the distribution of educational material and
an exhibition in the capital's major road have been lined up before
the official launch of the campaign on November 23 in Harare.
The 16 Days of Activism will also include the Aids Day on December
1 and the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, where a man gunned
down 14 female engineering students at the University of Montreal
in Canada for being feminists.
Some male organisations like the Padare will be taking part in the
campaign as a response to calls for men to take part in the fight
against violence on women, as they are the ones who can indeed make
a great and meaningful difference in the lives of women and children.
Visit the FAMWZ fact
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.