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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Index of articles surrounding the debate of the Domestic Violence Bill
Zimbabwe really protect women against domestic violence?1 A personal
June 30, 2008
As I reflect
on the sudden loss of my friend Yemurai2, who was murdered by her
ex-husband in early June, I see myself so helpless as to how I can
ensure that other women out there do not fall into the same vicious
cycle of brutal violence.
almost 2 years since women and men in Zimbabwe celebrated the enactment
of the Domestic
Violence Bill, which President Robert Mugabe passed it into
law on the 29th of October 2006. This brought so much relief to
many women in Zimbabwe for many women activists and movements had
lobbied for a law that would protect women and girls from all acts
of violence upon then. The law also protects men who have been facing
violence from their female counterparts within their families or
in their business activities.
However, I personally
feel that not many women are aware of the existence of such a law,
or if they are, they still need to be guaranteed that if they report
acts of domestic violence to the police officers, their lives will
had so much to look forward to in life, and had a 3 year old daughter,
did not manage to celebrate her 26th birthday when her ex-husband
decided to end her life after having engaged in a heated dispute.
To make matters worse, the local police had reported that before
she was shot dead, she had been raped in full view of her daughter
and later shot whilst her daughter saw the horrific act. Reflecting
on such a horrific act, I wonder if women are doing enough to support
each other when one of us is in deep trouble!
As I write
this article, 3 weeks on, the ex-husband was supposed to go on trial
for murder in towards the last week of June, but the latest news
from Yemurai-s family was indicating that he was released
on bail, and this becomes more painful as I was hoping that the
legal system would do justice to Yemurai's family....No one knows
whether the perpetrator will still come after his daughter or Yemurai-s
family, or even be given a stiffer sentencing for killing Yemurai.
in Zimbabwe and the world over have been denouncing violence against
women and how it leads to many women contracting HIV-AIDS, but I
still challenge more organizations to support women-s organizations
and other movements not to get weary in this fight for the right
to life of all people, especially for women and girls. People like
Yemurai's ex-husband should not be left free, roaming around in
the community because they are bound to do the same thing to other
women. After this tragic event, I do not believe that many women
are safe in their homes, or in their communities.
After all has
been said and done, as women advocating for our rights, I personally
feel that our first priority is the fight for the right to life,
to advocate for policies that ensure that our lives are protected
and if there are cases where we are threatened by our male counterparts,
we should ensure that the law officers including the police officers
will be ready to assist us and offer protection from the male perpetrators
that might have the propensity to be violent towards us! This is
also not divorced from the impact of political violence on women
and girls in Zimbabwe at the moment and how it is important to continue
lobbying and advocating for an end to all forms of violence
know that by putting my thoughts an feelings on this paper, this
will not bring my dear friend back from the dead, but it can be
a beginning for me and other women who have been affected by domestic
violence to ensure that more women and girls begin to even make
more noise and denounce all forms of violence!
is a programme officer on Adequate Housing at Swedish Co-operative
Centre-Regional Office for Southern Africa, (SCC ROSA) and writes
this article in her personal capacity. She is also an individual
member of Women-s
Coalition in Zimbabwe and FEMNET.
1. This brief
article is a tribute to my dear friend, who lost her life on the
6th of June 2008 in a domestic dispute with her ex-husband. I have
used a fake name so as to protect her family. I am hoping that through
this article, more women in Zimbabwe, Africa and the world over
would never stop to ensure that more women are protected by the
law against domestic violence and all forms of violence.
2. The name
is not real as there is need to protect the family-s privacy.
Aid International, OSISA, ICW (International Coalition of Women
against HIV-AIDS), Women-s
Coalition in Zimbabwe, Women
and Aids Support Network, Padare-Men-s
Forum on Gender (Zimbabwe), ZWLA
(Zimbabwe Women-s Lawyers Association), Msasa
Project (Zimbabwe), Women-s
Action Group (WAG), among other organizations at national level
and global level.
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