09 March 2022
violence (GBV) disproportionately affects girls and women, and that is the
reason why hundreds of organizations, including the Zimbabwe Environmental Law
Association, focus on ending violence against women.
United Nations Population Fund reports that one in three women have experienced
physical or sexualized violence in their lifetime.
GBV include child marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings,
trafficking for sex or slavery, intimate partner violence, physical punishment,
sexual, emotional or psychological violence.
Zimbabwe, forms of GBV that are common include child
marriage, female genital mutilation, intimate partner violence, physical
punishment, sexual, emotional or psychological violence.
article, we will try to explain some of the common forms of GBV experienced by
women and men in the country.
marriage is one of the forms of gender-based violence which is common in
Zimbabwe particularly within the apostolic sect. One in three girls in Zimbabwe
was likely to be married before turning 18 years, according to the United
pregnancy can pose a serious health risk to young girls.
instance, Memory Machaya died while giving birth at a shrine of the Johanne
Marange church in Marange, Mutare, on July 15, 2021.
caused an outcry, with the United Nations condemning the prevalence of child
marriages in Zimbabwe especially within white garment churches.
was forced to drop out of school in Mhondoro while in Form 1 after she was
married off to Evans Momberume, who was believed to be in his
marriage bill that is before parliament for debate seeks to synchronize the
laws, ban marriage of anyone below 18 years and prosecute anyone involved in
the marriage of a minor.
to the World Health Organization (WHO), intimate partner violence or domestic
violence is one of the most common forms of violence against women and includes
physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviors by an intimate
in all settings and among all socioeconomic, religious and cultural groups. The
overwhelming global burden of this form of GBV is borne by women.
of types of behavior include acts of physical violence, such as slapping,
hitting, kicking and beating; sexual violence, including forced sexual
intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion; emotional (psychological)
abuse, such as insults, belittling, constant humiliation, intimidation (e.g.
destroying things), threats of harm, threats to take away children; and
controlling behaviors, including isolating a person from family and friends;
monitoring their movements; and restricting access to financial resources,
employment, education or medical care.
violence affects women’s physical and mental health through direct pathways,
such as injury, and indirect pathways, such as chronic health problems that
arise from prolonged stress, experts say.
sexual act performed on an individual without their consent is called sexual
violence, says European Institute for Gender Equality. Sexual violence can take
the form of rape or sexual assault.
example, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission reports that 22 women are raped daily,
one every 75 minutes. On average, 646 women are sexually abused monthly, with
one in three girls raped or sexually assaulted before they reach the age of 18.
to WHO, female genital mutilation (FGM) or circumcision refers to a variety of
operations involving partial or total removal of female external genitalia.
female external genital organ consists of the vulva, which comprises the labia
majora, labia minora, and the clitoris covered by its hood in front of the urinary
and vaginal openings.
world is condemning FGM in all its forms in Africa, the practice also appears
to be rampant in Zimbabwe.
say FGM is not only exposing women to HIV/AIDS but violates their sexual
rights, signaling a need for collective action in dealing with culturally
to Herald, a 27-year-old woman died on 8 September 2016, after succumbing to
the massive loss of blood as a result of the botched operation meant to make
her count in society as a woman.
failing to conceive, the woman was advised, as is the custom, to seek the
attention of the elderly women affectionately known in the local dialect as
which causes physical harm as a result of unlawful physical force can be
classified as physical violence. Physical violence can take the form of, among
others, serious and minor assault, deprivation of liberty and manslaughter.
which causes psychological harm to an individual. It can take the form of, for
example, coercion, defamation, verbal insult or harassment.
gender-based violence be stopped?
to Plan International, violence is not a private matter – it must be uncovered
in order for it to be challenged. Ending gender-based violence will involve
action at all levels: challenging social norms that condone violence or impose
gender roles; strengthening legislation to criminalize violence and prosecuting
says it’s vital for children to learn about gender-equality at school, just as
it’s important to promote intergenerational dialogue on violence against
children. Community dialogue can challenge the attitudes towards punishment and
dominance that perpetuate gender-based violence, it says.
all promote and strengthen values that support non-violent, respectful,
nurturing, positive, gender-equitable relationships for all children and
adolescents, including the most vulnerable and excluded,” Plan International says.
ministerial statement delivered on 4 March 2021, Sithembiso Nyoni, the minister
of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development said
the government was developing a Sexual Harassment Bill and Gender Equality Bill
to help fight against GBV.
are expected to criminalize the offence of sexual harassment and provide
frameworks for gender equality.