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Zimbabwe media's coverage of the 16 Days of Activism Against
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
March 08, 2012
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Care, a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty,
violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread but
least recognised human rights abuses in the world. While the frequency
of gender-based violence (GBV) varies with location, the World Health
Organisation (WHO) 2005 Multi-country Study on Women's Health
and Domestic Violence against Women, states that globally, one out
of three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused
in her lifetime with rates reaching 70 percent in some countries
is in line with an earlier study by researchers Heise, Ellsberg
and Gottemoeller (1999), 'Ending Violence Against Women, which
shows that at least one in three of the world's female population
has been physically or sexually abused at some time in her life.
There is no
single definition or form of GBV. The term is widely used as a synonym
for violence perpetrated by males against females.
Gender Working Group - a network that promotes gender equity
- says the violence may take many forms, such as sexual abuse,
physical violence, emotional or psychological abuse, verbal abuse,
or beatings during pregnancy.
In its 1993
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the world
governing body, the UN, defines GBV in Article 1 as "Any act
of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result
in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women,
including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations
of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."
2 of the Declaration posits that the definition should incorporate
and not be limited to acts of physical, sexual and psychological
violence in the family, community, or perpetrated or condoned by
the State, wherever it occurs. These acts include: spousal battery;
sexual abuse, including of female children; dowry-related violence;
rape, including marital rape; female genital mutilation/cutting,
and other practices harmful to women; non-spousal violence; sexual
violence related to exploitation; sexual harassment and intimidation
at work, in school and elsewhere; trafficking in women; and forced
The 1995 Beijing
Platform for Action expands this UN definition.
It clearly identifies
violence against women as including violations of the rights of
women in situations of armed conflict, including systematic rape,
sexual slavery and forced pregnancy; forced sterilization, forced
abortion, coerced or forced use of contraceptives; prenatal sex
selection and female infanticide. It also recognizes the particular
vulnerabilities of women belonging to minorities: the elderly and
the displaced; indigenous, refugee and migrant communities; the
disabled; women living in impoverished rural or remote areas, or
Thus, the 16
Days of Activism Against Gender Violence became one of several initiatives,
mainly by feminists, to raise awareness and eliminate GBV in the
world. It came out of the Global Campaign for Women's human
In June 1991
the Centre for Women's Global Leadership with participants
from the first Women's Global Institute on Women, Violence
and Human Rights (a forum involving 23 women from 20 countries)
called for a Global Campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender
Violence from November 25 to December 10 in order to symbolically
link violence against women and human rights, and to emphasize that
such violence is a violation of human rights.
campaign period encompasses four significant dates:
- The International
Day Against Violence Against Women (November 25);
- World AIDS
Day (December 1);
6, The Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre (when 14 women engineering
students were gunned down for being feminists; and
10 - Human Rights Day.
activists at the local, national, regional and international levels
have observed the campaign every year globally, including in Zimbabwe.
of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, MMPZ assessed
how Zimbabwe's mainstream media fared in raising awareness
of GBV as a serious human rights violation and how they contributed
to keeping it on the agenda of the country's authorities and
Visit the MMPZ
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