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Statement on the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender-Based Violence 2013
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
November 28, 2013

The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) joins the nation and the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender- Based Violence (GBV). The campaign is commemorated every year globally between November 25 and December 10 to raise awareness of GBV as a human rights violation and a societal concern that not only impacts women, but families and the development of any nation.

As a media monitoring organisation, MMPZ notes with concern that despite several initiatives affirming women’s rights by the Zimbabwean government, such as the gender aware provisions contained in the new Constitution, the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, as well as the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act, news about gender based violence in the country continues to be prevalent in our news media.

The plight of women and children was clearly illustrated in a recent ZTV report (2/10) on sexual abuse and the rape of children during which it was reported that at least 2,326 cases were of women who were sexually abused between January and June last year. Out of this figure 1,553 were girls below 16 years of age. The Daily News (3/10) reported that “over 4,000 cases of child abuse are reported yearly to the police” and that many more cases go unreported. While these figures give a clue to the extent of the problem plaguing Zimbabwean society, the media’s largely sensationalised coverage of the issue does not do much to help.

MMPZ’s daily monitoring reveals that although the issue of GBV and 16 days of activism received wide publicity in the country’s mainstream media throughout the year, most of the reports are either event based or court and crime related stories, usually about men as the offenders, while women and children are the victims. Currently, no media has attempted to comprehensively assess the full extent of gender-based violence prevailing in the country during the year, nor have they attempted to seek some explanation for its prevalence, a pre-requisite to finding solutions to this severely anti-social behaviour.

MMPZ believes the media have a central role to play in convincing all members of society of the need to genuinely commit to changing attitudes in their efforts to bring an end to all forms of violence against women and girls. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an opportunity for the media to reflect on their role, investigate its causes, and renew their commitment and action towards its elimination. Most importantly, the action must be sustained throughout the year, as it confronts and affects women, men and children on a daily basis.

In line with the ongoing theme, “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women”, MMPZ calls on the media and the society they serve to renew their efforts to seek solutions to this under-explained and under-investigated scourge.

Visit the MMPZ fact sheet

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