“There is a thin line between abuse and submission and most women are tricked into abuse in the name of submission and respect for the husband.” Hazel Jojo.
November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the beginning of an important global advocacy campaign, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
Globally, one third of all women and girls over the age of 15 have experienced sexual or intimate-partner violence.
More than 200 million women and girls have endured female genital mutilation and cutting—in some countries, over 90 percent of girls and women between the ages of 15-to-49 have undergone this degrading human rights violation.
One-in-five girls and young women around the world face the prospect of child, early, and forced marriage, with the risk rising following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emerging data has shown that COVID-19 has allowed a “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence to spread, with an increase in all types of violence against women and girls.
And yet, gender-based violence is one of the least recognized human rights violations and abuses, though it happens in every single country.
Zimbabwe voice journalist Tafadzwa Mutsika(TM) recently conducted an interview with Hezel Jojo(HJ) GBV activist to sightsee 16 days against gender based violence which recognizes that all people deserve to live free from the threat of gender-based violence.
T M. What is the biggest problem we see in modern society?
H J. I am a strong believer of feminism and women empowerment but why has it become one of the most biggest problem in our society is that we focused so much on empowering the girl child and forgetting to teach the society what is an empowered lady and how to leave with an empowered lady. In a modern society, it’s like we have accepted modernization, urbanization, technology.
We have abandoned traditional names, dressing and food for the western ways and we are okay with that. But the moment we talk about gender, what women should do and should not do that is when we talk about “culture’. And I then wonder. What is culture and what does it mean for a modern girls, do culture evolve or some part of it can.
T M. What are the issues to report?
H J. Everyone is talking about gender based Violence, mainly focusing on physical violence and also rape. But there has been a rise of online based violence perpetuated by the worldwide use of technology. Most girls have been body shamed on Instagram and twitter. This need to be taken seriously and reported on because we do not have cyber security and this poses a challenge. The other thing is that we have too many ghost accounts so it might be difficult to trace the perpetrators of this violence.
T M .What role will social workers play in assisting the victims?
H J .Psychosocial support is very important. Survivors of GBV need to be supported emotionally, socially and empowered. Social workers play different roles in assisting the survivors. They link survivors with resources and with organizations like a Musasa that will provide physical support. Social workers play the role of an educator. One step in preventing GBV is education. There is a thin line between abuse and submission and most women are tricked into abuse in the name of submission and respect for the husband. Society needs to be taught that Gender based violence is real and that it is a crime. Social workers can also lobby for gender responsive policies. Policies that support gender mainstreaming and also affirmative action to help women and girls to be economically empowered.
T M .Do you think that the global pandemic we are going through is affecting victims of gender based violence?
H J. We have seen a high prevalence rate of gender based violent cases during the lockdown mainly because most people lost their jobs and they were at home. Most women and girls were closed off with the perpetrators of violence and even reportage of these cases increased. It was also difficult to go to the police and report a violence case because of the roadblocks (you couldn’t tell every policeman at the roadblock that l needed to go to the central police and report a case. This is because all the focus of the government and development partners was shifted to COVID 19.