Tuesday, 3 December 2013

It’s time to act to stop Gender Based Violence

Female students Network joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. The 16 days, starting form 25 November to 10 December is way of raising awareness of the scourge that has taken many live throughout the years.

It is also a time to make duty bearers, especially the police to take seriously issues of gender based violence. Of late, female students have complained that they are not being taken seriously when they report cases of abuse to the police.

It is very important to note that Gender Based Violence does not only affect couples in a marriage setting but those who are not yet married too. For female students, a lecturer asking for sexual favours for a pass constitutes gender abused violence.
Gender based violence is still a challenge in the country and has impacted negatively on our society, with consequence such as injuries, unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

According to reports by Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey(ZDHS) 1 in 4 women had experienced sexual violence and in 9 out of 10 of the cases the perpetrator is the woman’s current or former husband, partner or boyfriend; and 1 in 3 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence since the age 15.

Gender based violence had impacted negatively on the Zimbabwean society, with consequences such as injuries, unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

As FSN, we encourage everyone to continue working together to raise awareness that violence against women and girls is unacceptable. Gender based violence is a human rights violation that calls for an integrated and multi-sectorial approach if we are to achieve meaningful results

There is need for more campaigns that involve men as they are also victims of gender based violence in some cases and largely the perpetrators of GBV.

Zimbabwe is to be commended for setting the policy framework for gender based violence prevention and response which includes the Domestic Violence Act although there is still need to deal decisively with this vicious cycle of violence, as it is destroying families and causing untold suffering to the victims. The human rights abuses against women not only inflict great harm and suffering on individuals but they affect the entire society.

FSN therefore encourages everyone; regardless of gender to work together to stop gender based violence as it has caused untold suffering in the Zimbabwean community. The Network also encourages everyone to condemn gender based violence and take action against it not only during the 16 days but the whole year because gender based violence affects women, men and children on a daily basis.

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