WCoZ calls for unity, solidarity to end GBV

Staff Writer


Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) has made a clarion call for unity and solidarity in ending
violence against women and girls and urged parliament to prioritise the alignment and enactment of
laws that seek to protect the fairer sex.
In a statement to commemorate 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence, non-partisan
national network of women’s rights organisations and activists striving for the rights of women and
girls, called for unity and solidarity in ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
This year’s commemoration is being held under the theme: ““UNITE! Activism to end violence
against women and girls.”
The commemoration comes at a time when Zimbabwe has been increasingly recording worrying
cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of girls, intimate partner violence, trafficking and violence
against women in elections.
Research evidence has shown that in Zimbabwe, about one in four women have experienced sexual
violence since the age of 15.
“These shocking statistics, are eloquent testimony of a society that has lost its soul and empathy.
Impunity, patriarchal social norms, economic hardships, unbalanced power dynamics, gender
inequalities, limited resources to adequately respond to GBV and the limited implementation of the
law, have been the driving force behind this sad state of affairs,” said WCoZ.
The organisation called upon the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Ministry
of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to re-capacitate and
adequately finance the Anti-Domestic Violence Council and to establish a strong referral support
system and safe shelters for victims/survivors.
The NGO urged parliamentarians to prioritise the alignment and enactment of laws that seek to
protect women and girls from violence such as mandatory sentencing, and comprehensive legislative
framework to holistically address sexual harassment in private and public spaces.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was also urged to provide leadership through
collaborative efforts and consultations in addressing violence against women in elections, as one of
the pre-requisites for achieve gender equality in elections.
WCoZ called upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police to decentralise Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) facilities
to remote and hard to reach areas, and to continuously build the capacities of police officers to
adequately respond to cases of GBV.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was urged to ringfence a proportion of the
national budget on GBV to mitigate the effects of VAWG and ensure that there is urgent and flexible
funding for GBV service providers.
Churches, communities, and families were urged to promote non-violent conflict resolution
mechanisms at household and community level and to de-stigmatise survivors of GBV.

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