By Sharleen Mohammed
TRADITIONAL healers and apostolic healers are the biggest perpetrates of sexual gender based violence (SGBV) against women and girls in Zimbabwe, a senior government official says.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Public Service and Social Development, director of disability affairs Christine Peta said: “It is a growing problem which needs to be nipped because women with disabilities are being sexually abused by apostolic sect healers and traditional healers.”
“There is a huge problem here in Zimbabwe of women and girls with disabilities facing (SGBV). We are seeing prophets from the apostolic sect telling women with mantle disabilities that if they want to be healed they should sleep with them. I heard from the spirit that it is the only way to heal you and make you whole again without disability,” she said.
Peta noted that these healers recommend sexual intercourse as an intervention for a disabled woman to get healed.
“If you want to get out of the wheelchair you should sleep with me, this is happening in the apostolic sect and traditional healers asking why this happened. In our research, we have found that the healing process at these places is shrouded in SGBV,” Peta said.
Women coalition of Zimbabwe (WiCoZ) national coordinator Sally Dura said women and girls with disabilities are usually left behind in gender based violence interventions.
“As WiCoZ, we will engage traditional healers and faith based organisations in coming up with ways of tackling SGBV against women and girls,” Dura said.
The EU funded Spotlight Initiative Outcome 6 on Supporting the Women’s Movement, UNESCO linked up women’s movement to ensure joint advocacy for disability rights. The women’s movement in Zimbabwe plays a crucial role in advocating for gender equality and women’s rights.