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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Index of articles surrounding the debate of the Domestic Violence Bill

  • International Women's Day and the Domestic Violence Bill
    Women's Coalition
    March 11, 2006

    View the index of articles on the debate around the Domestic Violence Bill

    International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated worldwide and on this day when women claim their rights as equal citizens in their countries. The theme for IWD this year is, "women in decision making". Gender based violence deters women from participating in decisions that affect their lives community and country. Violence and discrimination hinders women’s participation in politics where the electorate mostly prefers men for leadership positions.

    The Women’s Coalition commemorates 16 Days this year with a request to policy makers to pass the Domestic Violence Bill and protect women and girls from violence in the home. The idea of the Domestic Violence Bill was conceived in 1999 after research and observations showed that women were suffering gruesome violence at the hands of their partners. Research also showed that in 95% of the cases of domestic violence women are the victims. In the era of HIV/AIDS some women are deliberately infected by their partners and this is sexual violence.

    Accessing the justice legal system for women suffering gender based violence was and is still a nightmare. The legal system is insensitive because there are no specific provisions that deal with domestic violence. The police force which is male dominated also perceives of domestic violence as a private matter which they are ill equipped to deal with. Musasa Project, a women rights NGO, consulted with stakeholders, influenced the drafting of the bill and has lobbied, advocated and petitioned for the passing of the Domestic Violence Bill.

    The Women’s Coalition and its membership also contributed a lot to the campaign to popularize the bill over the past six years. When all seemed to be lost and after five years of lobbying and advocating for the passing of the bill, a miracle came with the resurrection of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Honourable Minister Oppah Muchinguri immediately started advocating and pushing for the bill. Policy makers have been roped in and there seems to be no obstacle to the passing of the bill now.

    The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe is one of the stakeholders pulling all stops to ensure they engage in a massive campaign as a countdown to the tabling of the Domestic Violence Bill. This will start during the International Women’s Day and continue until the bill is tabled, debated and passed. This is necessary to get the policy makers, women and men to appreciate the importance of this piece of legislation.   The Campaign will involve raising public awareness on the need of the bill and its contents by;

    • Submission of thousands of signatures to plead with policy makers to prioritise DVB
    • Pitching tents around Zimbabwe where people can come and leave their testimonies of GBV and these will be publicized.
    • Put up billboards with messages that support passing of Gender Based Violence.
    • Intensive radio adverts and shows.
    • TV talk shows and adverts
    • Messages and adverts in the newspapers
    • Printing of pamphlets and fliers in support of the bill.
    • Holding workshops, symposiums, meetings to raise awareness of the bill.
    • Daily update of events through the e-coalition.
    There are many other challenges to the attainment of women’s human rights in Zimbabwe and one of these is the discrimination inherent in the constitution of Zimbabwe. Section 23 of the constitution still discriminates women based on their sex and women of Zimbabwe should engage a massive campaign for the repeal of the section. Equality of men and women is a human right and it should be guaranteed in our constitution and laws of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans should unite and ensure women and girls in particular and boys and men in general are protected from Gender Based Violence.

    Come and join the women on the 11th of March 2006 at Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza.

    Visit the Women's Coalition fact sheet

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