16 Days of Activism: A collective Call to End GBV

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a period when the whole world deliberate and focus on key challenges, opportunities and progress made towards the attainment of basic human rights and gender related violations of human dignity.

This year’s them, “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls” resonates well with the sustainable development goals that seek to leverage on inclusivity and partnership towards collective realization of growth with development of all regardless of gender, geographical location, creed or social status.

The empowerment of women and girls in Zimbabwe has been emphasized across sectors, however, a lot of work and resources are still needed to penetrate society and fight against all systems and factors that perpetuate inequality and trigger gender inspired violence. The Zimbabwean culture, despite having positive elements, has posed a threat to the protection and empowerment of women and girls. Example of such violations has long been engraved in various traditional and religious doctrines that are strongly rooted in patriarchy. It is because of such traditions that girls are subjected to perpetual violence and deprivation of their right to basic entitlements among them education, health and access to economic opportunities.

It should also be taken note that gender based violence has also occurred within families and gone unnoticed. According to the report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals , in 2012, almost half of all women who were victims of intentional homicide worldwide were killed by an intimate partner or family member, compared to 6 per cent of male victims. It is these family dynamics that needs to be confronted in settling conflict from a very primary level.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is a collective call. Every community has a role to play in preventing gender based violence by encouraging a society based on respect. It is thus key to raise awareness on this call; through generating progressive debates and deeper insights into gender-based stereotypes and awareness of gender-based violence prevention strategies and primary intervention, deepen the understanding of the causes of violence against women, collaborate to leverage their skills and experience in community-based campaigns as well as engage broad and diverse participants.

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