Radio Personalities from different stations in the country have teamed up to create a social media awareness campaign on Gender Based Violence. The campaign running during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is called #RadioPersonalitiesAgainstGBV.
Some of the Radio Personalities that have joined the campaign against Gender Based Violence are Samantha Musa popularly known as Misred from ZiFM Stereo, Breakfast Show News Anchor for ZiFM Stereo Shepherd Makowere, Olinda Mukahlera from Classic 263 and Itayi “Iyati” Takaendesa from Star FM.
The personalities will lead an online campaign on twitter that will help eliminate violence against young women and girls.
Iyati says she is happy to be involved in the Gender Based Violence awareness campaign.
“There is need to speak and act against all forms of Gender Based Violence, lives a being lost and some are being maimed for life because of GBV,” said Iyati.
Misred said a lot of women are suffering silently in abusive relationships. She added that there is need to speak out boldly against violence against women and girls.
“There is no need to suffer in silence and stay in an abusive relationship, women should learn to speak out or walk out of a relationship that is abusive,” said Misred.
The awareness campaign which is running under the theme “Radio Personalities Against GBV” is being spearheaded by Media4GenderJustice with the support from SAfAIDS.
A human rights lawyer who is also part of the campaign Ruwadzano Makumbe says Gender Based Violence is usually a private affair and families try to keep it in silence opting to resolve the issues without involving the authorities.
“Silence is a deep-rooted problem which has resulted in underreporting and also serious cases which have resulted in death. When GBV occurs the majority of women do not report the cases as they believe that if they do so they will be destroying their marriages and families. They also fear that if they report the husband who is also the bread-winner they will not be able to take care of the family in his absence. Silence therefore allows the continuance of violence in the home,” Ms Makumbe said.
“Some sections of the Zimbabwean society have now become so open to understanding that GBV is a crime and there is need to report it and not protect perpetrators. However, there remains the institutionalised conception stemming from culture that views GBV as an acceptable consequances of being a woman and of marriage,” she said.
Spousal abuse is the most common form of Gender Based Violence. As a result of the patriarchal nature of Zimbabwean society, women are affected more by Gender Based Violence than men.
Ms Makumbe said despite the enactment of laws to protect women, Gender based violence cases remain high.
“In as much as there is GBV in private spaces there is also GBV in public spaces in the form of sexual harassment, rape and torture of women. GBV in public spaces has also become rife due to water crises in areas such as Chitungwiza. Women and girls carry the burden of ensuring that the family is provided for and in most circumstances are facing abuse at the community boreholes at night. Cases of rape and sexual assault have been reported,” Ms Makumbe said.
There are various factors that are influencing the perpetuation on Gender Based Violence. Lobola has perpetuated GBV, this has been mistook as a form of selling price for the bride creating the sense that the woman is now the husband’s property. This means that a man will feel entitled to his wife and believes he owns the woman.
Ms Makumbe said Zimbabwe is predominantly a Christian nation and women are supposed to submit to their husbands. She said this is in the belief that the husband is the head of the family and makes all important decisions concerning the family.
Gender Based Violence is a serious problem and the fact that society has accepted that this is a problem that can only be addressed at community level is indicative that there will be change if everyone is involve.
In June this year the Government of Zimbabwe, the European Union and the United Nations launched the spotlight Initiative to assist women and girls realise their full potential in a violence free gender responsive and inclusive Zimbabwe.
The European Union has committed USD$34 million for the Spotlight Initiative country programme in Zimbabwe. The Initiative will ensure all women and girls benefit from adequate legislation and policies.
Ms Makumbe said there is need to involve men in all efforts to end GBV. In most cases the perpetrators are men and no progress will be made in ending or preventing GBV without their involvement.
According to the UNFPA Gender Based Violence remains rife in Zimbabwe with one in two women without education experiencing spousal violence.