'15 women raped every day in Zim'

HARARE - National Statistical Office has indicated that at least 15 women are raped every day in Zimbabwe as gender violence flares up.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police, ZRP, on the other hand, revealed disturbing reports that 1 494 juveniles had been raped during the first quarter of the year, with the majority of them being girls.

Analysts believe the recent reported shock death of lsabel Masuka, a Women’s University in Africa student who was murdered by her husband was an indicator that gender-based violence is very much alive and wreaking havoc in several homes with women always on the receiving end.

An angry Vice President, Joice Mujuru recently blamed people close or known to the victims as the perpetrators of sexual abuse among women and girls.

“The fathers, uncles and neighbours, people we usually entrust with our children are mainly the perpetrators of these acts.

“I want to implore parents and guardians to rise up to the challenge and jealously protect children,” advised Mujuru.

Southern Africa Development Community, Sadc gender protocol reports that the trickle-down effect in terms of real change as a result of constitutional laws and policies to the lives of women and girls in Zimbabwe remains minimal.

Local analysts contend though that while the new Constitution should be applauded for its gender inclusiveness, until the laws governing gender are implemented the laws will remain but a pipe dream.

Section 17(1) of the Constitution stipulates that the State should promote full gender balance in the country so as to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of the country on the basis of equality with men.

Other sections of the Constitution also touch on very critical areas such as ensuring that women have access to land and resources, equal representation in all institutions and agencies of government at every level in a bid to rectify gender discrimination and imbalances that has resulted from past practises and policies.

Sadc says gender equality and the rights of women still remain an issue of contestation in Zimbabwe due to ingrained attitudes against equality, harmful cultural practises, the gaps that exist between women and men in the economy among others.

Oppah Muchinguri, minister for Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development argued that while the church and our culture were good, it is the people who are abusing these privileges.

“Certain men of cloth are preying on their flock and certain pastors are sexually abusing women purporting it as a spiritual healing for barrenness.

“These cases continue to happen despite all the policies, laws and mechanisms put in place in the country,” Muchinguri said.

Women activists allege their programmes are not prioritised and are left to the mercy of the under-funded Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development who have to content with little or no support from the government.

While government has mooted the idea of a Zimbabwe Gender Commission, this provision still has to be implemented. The proposed commission is expected to be gender balanced in its composition and be able to monitor issues concerning gender equality and secure appropriate redress where rights are violated among other functions.

Memory Kachambwa, Women Trust’s director said while the Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development ministry’s released budget is way below what would have been requested by the parent ministry, the setting up of the gender commission is a huge inroad. “Though women’s issues have not been given priority, the setting up of the gender commission is a move pointing in the right direction”.

Kachambwa urged women to be proactive and not wait for things to happen for them. “Being educated and going to school is not enough to empower a person but as women we must have a vision by getting involved in community activities and taking responsibility thus being in charge of our lives.”

Comments (2)

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Yes and most by zanupf youths because they don't support ZanuPF. Now tell me about those Chimanimani girls.

Maita Manyuka - 30 June 2014

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