46 killed in Gender-based Violence disputes: Men coming forth to report cases Chief Mtshane Khumalo

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, [email protected]

MORE men being abused by women are coming forward to report the abuse to the police amid reports that a total of 18 907 domestic violence cases were recorded across the country from January to October this year compared to 17 244 cases during the same period last year.

Zimbabwe which this year lost 46 people to GBV, joins the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which started last Saturday and ends on December 10. 

Unlike in the past when men were silent victims of abuse, there is an increase in the number of them reporting cases against women, with 2 463 reports compared to 1 782 cases that were reported last year, according to the police.

National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, said 17 244 cases of domestic cases were recorded across the country between January to October last year, of which 15 462 were reported by women against men while 1 782 were reported by men against women.

“For the same period this year, 18  907 cases of domestic violence were reported and 16 444 of these cases were reported by women against men and 2 463 were reported by men against women,” he said.

During the same period last year, 21 men were killed due to domestic violence compared to 15 this year while 26 women lost their lives from January to October last year.

Asst Comm Nyathi said the statistics show that domestic violence was not only about women being attacked by men.

“Men are now coming forward to report abuse by women. Communities should continue giving credence to the issue of peace and tranquility in families. When couples have challenges here and there, only engagement and discussions can solve some of the differences,” he said. 

Asst Comm Nyathi urged citizens to take advantage of available community structures to solve GBV cases.

He said the major causes of domestic violence include social media, family setups, financial matters and infidelity.

During the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development in collaboration with the United Nations country team Zimbabwe and its partners, called for the doubling of efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls.

In her speech, Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, said gender-based violence slows economic growth and constitutes a breach of the most sacred of moral contracts, that everyone has the right to feel safe and secure, to freely be their authentic selves and to chart their own destiny.

Commenting, president of the Chiefs Council of Zimbabwe, Chief Mtshane Khumalo called on all traditional leaders to take a leading role in the fight against GBV in their communities. 

“It is our duty as traditional leaders to join forces with the Government and all those involved in fighting GBV. A majority of our population lives in rural areas and it is in these areas where a number of abuse cases occur,” he said. 

“As we hold our community meetings we should always preach against GBV which is not only affecting women but men as well. Let us live in harmony as couples or families,” said Chief Mtshane.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international civil society-led campaign that takes place each year. 

The campaign starts on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on December 10, Human Rights Day.

It has been observed that violence against women is the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide. 

The campaign was originated by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and is used as an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

In support of this civil society initiative, the United Nations Secretariat launched in 2008 the campaign “UNITE by 2030 to End Violence Against Women”, which runs parallel with the 16 Days of Activism. 

This year’s campaign is running under the theme: ‘UNiTE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls.’

By using #NoExcuse as a slogan and hashtag, the campaign calls for financial support for different prevention strategies and transforming social norms to end violence against women and girls. 

Despite many countries passing laws to combat violence against women, weak enforcement and discriminatory social norms remain the major setback. 

The Zimbabwean Constitution expliciwtly provides for the right to dignity, personal security and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment.

However, cases of gender-based violence have continued to escalate, with stakeholders being urged to collaborate in bringing this to an end.

Chief Mtshane said laws should be enforced if the country is to win the fight against GBV.

Globally, an estimated 736 million women — almost one in three — have been subjected to physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both, at least once in their lives.

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