Cases of domestic violence on rise

HARARE - Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights.

According to a 2013 WHO global study, 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence.

However, some national studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner.

Every year, November 25 and the ensuing 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence which follow (ending on December 10, Human Rights Day) are commemorated around the world, providing individuals and groups a chance to mobilise and call attention to the urgent need to end violence against women and girls.

Ending violence against women and girls is one of UN Women’s core priorities.

According to the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey of 2011, this issue is wide-spread and remains the main violation of human rights and the biggest barrier to gender equality in the country.

In 2009, Gender Based Violence (GBV) cost the country an estimated $2 billion.

In 2010, over one-third of women between the ages of 15 and 49 reported having experienced physical violence at some point in their lives and the majority experienced sexual violence before the age of 18.

Most tragically, it was revealed that in 2009, 80 percent of the murder victims in Zimbabwe were women and girls.

Under-reporting of violence is chronic in Zimbabwe and in general, access to the formal justice system is limited and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms can be weak in handling GBV cases.

In Zimbabwe, UN Women supports initiatives to develop indicators and gather baseline data on GBV; Strengthen the legal and policy framework: Improve access to justice for survivors; Implement multi-sectoral national plans to eradicate GBV and build advocacy and communications campaigns to raise awareness and to eradicate GBV.

Musasa is an organisation whose vision is to see a world that is free of gender-based Violence.

Musasa, which started operating in 1988, provides counselling, legal advice and temporary shelter to survivors of GBV.

They also carry out advocacy initiatives aimed at ending GBV.

The main objective of this Fun Run is to highlight these challenges, advocate for ending violence, increase awareness of the causes and consequences of violence and promote the services that are available.

UN Women and Musasa hope that you will support this event by joining hands with us on these issues and taking part in this Fun Run which is aimed at breaking the silence on GBV issues on Saturday, November 30, at 6am at Belgravia Sports Club where there will be lots of entertainment offered.

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