CASES of gender-based violence (GBV) are on the rise in the country, likely due to economic hardships, Musasa project executive director Netty Musanhu has revealed.
Musanhu said it was unfortunate the scourge, particularly domestic violence, continues to grow despite concerted efforts directed at mitigating it.
As of 2011, according to the UN, at least 72 percent of Zimbabweans were considered poor.
“The country has no baseline but what we are seeing is that there is a big increase in gender based violence,” said Musanhu adding, “Because of the difficult economic situation, roles have changed in the homes, a lot of men are unemployed that has brought a lot of strains within households.
“We are also seeing a lot of rape cases. The majority of clients within our shelters are rape survivors. There are young girls between the ages of 10 to 15.
“One stop centre here in Harare is recording an average of 500 per month, how about others all over the country.”
To aid the fight against GBV, Musanhu implored relevant offices to improve accessibility of GBV services and implementation and also invest in meeting the stipulations of the domestic violence act.
Most women are reportedly staying in abusive relationships that also exposes their children to GBV owing to lack of financial independence. March is the women history month.
United States (US) ambassador Harry Thomas Jr said GBV, in all its forms, should never be condoned.
“There is never – never – a reason to treat a woman violently,” Thomas said speaking during his tour of Musasa offices recently.
There is no excuse for doing so, under any circumstance, and it is never about passion or emotion and certainly never about love – it is abuse, it is violence and it cannot be tolerated.”
Zimbabwe recently joined the world in commemorating International Women’s Day under the theme “Be Bold for Change”, a theme which calls on individuals and communities to help forge a better and more inclusive gender-equal world.
Thomas’ tour followed a 2016 grant worth $200,000 awarded by the US government to Musasa with the goal to economically and socially empower women and girls who are survivors of GBV aged 10 to 24.
At least 8,000 girls have received financial management and life skills training, emergency cash transfers, youth connection and vocational training, and access to safe spaces and mentoring.