By Robert Tapfumaneyi
AT LEAST 764 cases of gender-based violence were reported in the country inside the first 11 days of the coronavirus induced national lockdown.
This was revealed in a statement by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ).
The feminist group urged government to take the lead in strategies aimed at dealing with rampant gender-based violence as opposed to leaving the task to NGOs.
“As of 13th April 2020, we have noted the following critical emerging issues that require urgent redress, gender-based violence cases on the rise-reports,” WCoZ said Tuesday.
“We amplify the crisis of domestic violence that is ripping through our communities during the lockdown and putting the lives of women at risk.
“We call upon government to realise the crisis of the 11 days of lockdown that has resulted in 764 reported cases.
“It is problematic that the national GBV responsiveness and readiness systems rests on Civil Society Actors and that government has not taken the lead in providing GBV services.”
There country usually records a monthly average of 500.
WCoZ also said it was concerned the country’s leadership was not speaking out loudly against GBV making the lives of victims of violence even more unbearable.
“We re-emphasize that GBV responsiveness is critical within the COVID-19 pandemic and we recommend the pro-activeness of government,” said the feminist group.
The group wants “all GBV shelters to be designated as essential services, to be manned and provide services during this period whilst respecting rules of sanitisation, self-isolation and social distancing.”
A GBV hotline, ‘2019’ has also been set up to support efforts aimed at eradicating the crime.