MAKONI - Almost half of all women in Zimbabwe suffer from gender- based violence and government is now stepping up efforts to curb the scourge, minister of State for Bulawayo province Eunice Sandi Moyo said.
Launching the International Women’s Day in Rukweza, about 30km southwest of Rusape, Sandi Moyo said government has responded to the domestic violence cases by setting up an anti-domestic violence council.
“The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey showed that the prevalence of gender-based violence stood at 47 percent among women.
“Studies have also shown that only 13 percent of women who suffer from violence seek help from the police and a combined five percent of those seek help from a doctor or medical institution, social services or a lawyer,” Sandi Moyo said.
In view of these worrying statistics Sandi Moyo said government is stepping up efforts to fight gender- based violence.
“The anti-domestic violence council was set up to ensure the effective implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Act.”
A local traditional leader, chief Chiduku, however, said men were also being battered and there was need to balance the interventions.
“Women are also beating men as we observe daily in our newspapers, so, there is need for you to also take time to send your people out here in the rural areas to appreciate that you work with both sexes,” Chiduku said.
Meanwhile, Sandi Moyo also expressed concern over the high incidences of child marriages in the country.
“I am deeply concerned with the high levels of child marriages in the country.
“The devastating consequences of the scourge range from greater risk of pregnancy related complications such as obstetric fistula, risk of HIV infection to psychological, moral and spiritual trauma.”
Sandi Moyo went on to heap praise on Ruvimbo Topodzi and Loveness Kadzura the teenagers who approached the Constitutional Court and forced the outlawing of marriage for girls under 18.
“Government sees this landmark ruling as a major milestone in the campaign to end child marriages in the country,” Sandi Moyo said.
Adding: “However, concrete steps have to be taken in order for the objectives of the ruling to be achieved.
“A lot has to be done in terms of legislation, policy and implementation so as to buttress the objectives of the ruling.”