By Mutsa Makuvaza
ZIMBABWE has joined the rest of the world to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Now a prominent feature on the calendars of countries, the initiative was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991.
Today, the 16 Days continue to be commemorated by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
In Zimbabwe women and men of all ages have participated in, been a victim of or came across some form of GBV. These in-clude physical, sexual, psychological, neglect, emotional and financial.
In its statement to mark the beginning of the 16 days of activism, the Civic Society and Churches Joint Forum (CSCJF) called for the “respect and welfare of every human being” and not just women, saying this was a critical area of concern and a paramount tenent of national development.
“CSCJF considers the wellness , respect and welfare of every human being as a critical area of concern and a paramount tenent of national development, violence against each other on the basis of gender is therefore uncalled for.
“CSCJF is against all forms of violence and joins the world in commemorating the 16 Days of activism against gender based violence from 25 November to 10 December 2020.
“We call upon all stakeholders to actively contribute to the elimination of this scourge in our society,” said the forum.
It added that the current coronavirus pandemic has had a greater impact on women and called on both Government and non-State actors to provide mechanisms for victims of GBV to speak out and seek redress and justice.
“Let’s bear in mind that the COVID 19 pandemic has had a great impact on the welfare of women who on the other hand statistically are the major victims of Gender-based-Violence, this is an enough cause for concern.
“Let’s continue to have robust indabas to end all forms of violence including Gender based Violence. Government and non-State actors must provide safety nets which give victims confidence to to speak out and cry out for help where need be.”
The organisation added: “Whilst men are currently perceived as major perpetrators of Gender-based-Violence, they too have become victims although such cases are statistically lower. It follows that only inclusive engagement will yield positive results.
“Gender-based Violence is one of the undermining episode in human nature and later on violates the universal dictates on human rights.
“Men and women both deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and that alone will fullfil the African doctrine of “Hunhu/Ubuntu.” In our culture this is a framework for the respect and protection of all, it’s underpinned on the concept ‘You are because I am’.”
The activism campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. – Zimbabwe Voice ■