KWEKWE: Tiger Reef mining compound has become a hotspot for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases in Kwekwe and residents are living in fear because two murder cases have been reported in November and December.
Speaking during a GBV awareness campaign which was hosted by the Community Voices Zimbabwe in partnership with Louder Magazine and WILPF, Village Headman Lazarus Savanhu said that violence against women surged during the last months.
“We are very worried about the cases of women who are being butchered here in Tiger Reef and most women are now living in fear because in November and December we had murder cases in this compound,” he said.
Women who participated in the awareness campaign confirmed that their lives are in danger since most of the men in the compound have dangerous weapons they use to harass them in their homes.
Savanhu also highlighted the issue of child marriages to strangers majority of whom are amakorokozas, who often come and go and sometimes murder people.
“Due to financial constraints, young girls are dropping out of school and end up in early child marriages. The parents accept the unions because amakorokozas have money, however in most cases, no one knows where the amakorokozas will be coming from hence some cases are going unresolved,” he said.
Sithatshisiwe Ncube one of the participants said that GBV has become a norm in the mining compound and women do not report their husbands because they have lost faith in the law enforcers.
“To be honest we have GBV cases here almost daily and we cannot do anything to help victims because most of the cases, for example, the lady who was murdered in November we witnessed her being killed and everyone feared to assist because the husband had a machete. The husband is also a well-known thug in the community. Reporting such cases, especially to the police is a waste of time since those killers will return to the society and harass whoever reported,” she said.
Ncube said that there was a need for more awareness programs since most women are the ones who hide crimes in the compound because they fear the machete gangs who are usually their husbands.
WILPF director Edwick Madzimure noted that “we should ensure girls have access to education so that we address early child marriages and teen pregnancies. Women must be economically empowered because most cases are caused by financial constraints.”
Madzimure also highlighted that there is a need to engage men and boys in the fight against GBV because more often they are left out. Also, men’s mental health issues are also supposed to be given priority.
She also mentioned that there is also a need for communities to stop stigmatising victims of GBV and divorcees which is the other reason why most cases are going unreported