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to gender based violence
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
November 14, 2012
for Human Rights (ZLHR) expresses its deep concern with the continued
abuse of women both in the private and public sphere. Horrific acts
of violence against women take place every day in Zimbabwe and the
recent attack on ZiFM DJ and actress Tinoponda Katsande by her boyfriend,
Brian Munjodzi, over the weekend raises alarm and also exposes the
horrific nature of gender-based violence that persists in Zimbabwe.
media reports, domestic violence has been steadily increasing since
2008 when 1,940 cases were reported. In 2011 a total of 10,351 cases
were reported. Projections show that if the trend for 2012 continues,
statistics might surpass the 2011 figures as the country recorded
3,141 cases of domestic violence in the first quarter alone. Further,
police reported that at least seven people were killed by their
partners in separate incidents in 149 cases of domestic violence
recorded countrywide in just one week. As a severely under-reported
crime, the severity of this scourge will never be fully known.
violence is a global pandemic that cuts across borders and impacts
all peoples and societies regardless of ethnicity, race, socio-economic
status, or religion. In Zimbabwe there is urgent need to deal decisively
with this vicious cycle of violence, as the violence manifesting
itself in the political arena mirrors the inner turmoil existing
within individuals and families. The human rights abuses against
women not only inflict great harm and suffering on individuals but
they tear at the fabric of entire societies.
There is need
for all members of society to commit themselves to changing attitudes
and ending all forms of violence against women and girls. The upcoming
16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an opportunity for
all Zimbabweans to condemn gender-based violence and renew their
commitment and action towards its elimination. It is critical to
note, however, that action must be sustained throughout the year,
as it confronts and affects women, men and children on a daily basis.
there are laws that protect society against family violence and
abuse, rape, sexual assault and other gender-based violence, but
these laws are meaningless without effective, fearless and sustained
implementation by the police, prosecutors and the courts against
any and every perpetrator.
It is our collective
responsibility to end the culture of gender-based violence in Zimbabwe,
as we are all born of woman and have grandmothers, sisters and daughters
who we must protect and respect.
Tinoponda Katsande for having the courage and strength to publicise
her distressing experience; it has assisted in raising debate and
may help save lives. ZLHR further calls upon the Ministry of Women
Affairs, Gender and Community Development to actively deepen policies
and action for greater protection of victims and survivors of gender-based
violence. Institutions of justice delivery must ensure that the
prosecution of Brian Munjodzi is carried out expeditiously, publicly,
and in a manner that will encourage other victims of gender-based
violence to report their cases with confidence that the law will
protect and vindicate them where they have had the courage to bring
these hidden violations to light.
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