Three Civic Society organisations in Kwekwe namely Community Voices Zimbabwe (CVZ), Women International League for Peace and Freedom Zimbabwe (WILPF-Zim) and Louder Magazine have launched the Gender Based Violence speak out campaign that seeks to encourage people experiencing GBV to speak out and report such issues in a bid to curb the rate of GBV which has become a problem in the country.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) is affecting women, their mental health and most of them are afraid to speak up resulting in some having lifetime negative mindset.
Speaking during a roundtable discussion on the launch of a speak up campaign being initiated by CVZ, WILPF-Zim and Louder Magazine while encouraging young women to speak up against GBV, WILPF-Zim President Edwick Madzimure said that women are suffering mentally and most of them do not realise the effects.
“Violence results in physical injuries which can be life-threatening, an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and for pregnant women who are sadly more likely to face intimate partner violence – a heightened risk of miscarriage and low-birth weight ,” she said .
According to statistics more than a third of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Speaking at the same occasion Partinella Ngozo who is the Co-Founder of CVZ said that GBV is not only affecting women but man as well and there is a rise in mental illness including depression and suicides in the province.
“There is need to engage men as well when we want to fight GBV because nowadays men especially during covid-19 have also been victims of GBV and it is sad to note that recently in Amaveni township, Kwekwe a 72 year old man hanged himself on allegations that he was a victim of GBV,” she said.
Ngozo urged women in Midlands to defy conservative norms and a culture of “shame” to speak out against GBV and not to be silent whenever they witness or hear GBV issues and expose those stories in the media.
“It’s high time as women that we should speak up and defy all social norms which encourage us women to keep quite since this is already affecting us mentally. As women our mental health matters therefore we should not be afraid to speak even write up our stories as these can be survival guidelines for our fellow sisters,” she said.
In Zimbabwe gender-based violence is prevalent. Nearly 50% of the country’s women have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. Meanwhile, one in three of these women have experienced physical or sexual violence before the age of 18.
Gender-based violence in Zimbabwe is now common that it is steadily becoming a normalized part of Zimbabwean culture.