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No to gender based violence
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

November 14, 2012

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) expresses its deep concern with the continued abuse of women both in the private and public sphere. Horrific acts of violence against women take place every day in Zimbabwe and the recent attack on ZiFM DJ and actress Tinoponda Katsande by her boyfriend, Brian Munjodzi, over the weekend raises alarm and also exposes the horrific nature of gender-based violence that persists in Zimbabwe.

According to media reports, domestic violence has been steadily increasing since 2008 when 1,940 cases were reported. In 2011 a total of 10,351 cases were reported. Projections show that if the trend for 2012 continues, statistics might surpass the 2011 figures as the country recorded 3,141 cases of domestic violence in the first quarter alone. Further, police reported that at least seven people were killed by their partners in separate incidents in 149 cases of domestic violence recorded countrywide in just one week. As a severely under-reported crime, the severity of this scourge will never be fully known.

Gender-based violence is a global pandemic that cuts across borders and impacts all peoples and societies regardless of ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, or religion. In Zimbabwe there is urgent need to deal decisively with this vicious cycle of violence, as the violence manifesting itself in the political arena mirrors the inner turmoil existing within individuals and families. The human rights abuses against women not only inflict great harm and suffering on individuals but they tear at the fabric of entire societies.

There is need for all members of society to commit themselves to changing attitudes and ending all forms of violence against women and girls. The upcoming 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an opportunity for all Zimbabweans to condemn gender-based violence and renew their commitment and action towards its elimination. It is critical to note, however, that action must be sustained throughout the year, as it confronts and affects women, men and children on a daily basis.

In Zimbabwe there are laws that protect society against family violence and abuse, rape, sexual assault and other gender-based violence, but these laws are meaningless without effective, fearless and sustained implementation by the police, prosecutors and the courts against any and every perpetrator.

It is our collective responsibility to end the culture of gender-based violence in Zimbabwe, as we are all born of woman and have grandmothers, sisters and daughters who we must protect and respect.

ZLHR commends Tinoponda Katsande for having the courage and strength to publicise her distressing experience; it has assisted in raising debate and may help save lives. ZLHR further calls upon the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development to actively deepen policies and action for greater protection of victims and survivors of gender-based violence. Institutions of justice delivery must ensure that the prosecution of Brian Munjodzi is carried out expeditiously, publicly, and in a manner that will encourage other victims of gender-based violence to report their cases with confidence that the law will protect and vindicate them where they have had the courage to bring these hidden violations to light.

Visit the ZLHR fact sheet

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