Women urged to advocate for GBV funds to support victims

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Partinella Ngozo

Women have been urged to advocate for social services funds to carter for Gender Based Violence (GBV) victims this publication can establish.

Speaking during the launch of Kwekwe Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe Chapter, Mbizo Constituency Legislator Settlement Chikwinya said that it is sad to note that most victims of domestic violence do not report their cases mainly because they cannot sustain themselves and mainly rely on men in order for them to survive.

“During the COVID-19 era we heard that Musasa recorded a total of 6,832 GBV calls from the beginning of the lockdown on 30 March until the end of December, 1,312 in April, 915 in May 2020, 779 in June, 753 in July, 766 in August, 629 in September, 546 in October, and 567 in November and 565 in December, with an overall average increase of over 40 per cent compared to the pre-lockdown trends. About 94 per cent of the calls are from women. This shows that women are victims of GBV and most of them usually withdrawal their cases not because they want to leave with their abusers but because these men are the ones who provide for them and putting them in jail won’t make sense,” he said.

Chikwinya urged women rights and human rights group to provide necessary safe shelters and monetary funds for all women who report their abusers to be availed even in the budget.

“I think that as women organization you should try and advocate for women who are victims to get an allowance from Social Services department for their survival and also provide safe shelter homes so that they become self-sustaining because we might preach about ending GBV but if these women are not empowered monetary they will never be able to report cases,” he said.

Speaking on the same occasion Edwick Madzimure from Women League for Peace Forum said that there is need for a safe house in Kwekwe since most cases are being swept under the carpet as most victims of GBV feel there is no need to report because they will be left stranded if they report their abusers.

“In Kwekwe it is very unfortunate that we have more cases of domestic violence which are usually not reported because the victims feel uncertainty of the future especially when they report the breadwinners therefore there is need for us to advocate for more women empowerment programs,” she said.

Councillor Rogers Nhari empahised that women should remove the mentality of relying on men as their bread winners and should know that they are more worth than men.

“Women are roots of every household therefore as women I urge you to use your hands in working for the future of your children and yourself. Our economy is open for business and as women you should never look down upon yourselves but work hard to earn respect,” he said.

WCOZ Gweru Chapter Locadia Mavhudzi said that achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls is not only a key human rights issue, but it is also one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 5) and one of the elements mainstreamed throughout the whole of Agenda 2030, as the central claim of leaving no-one behind will not be achieved without reaching goal five.

“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, emerging data and reports from those on the frontline, have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. This is a shadow pandemic growing amidst the COVID-19 crisis and we need a collective effort to stop it,” she said.

Mavhudzi said that as COVID-19 cases continue to strain health services, essential services, such as domestic violence shelters and helplines have reached capacity. More needs to be done both at local and national level to prioritise addressing violence against women in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

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