Silenced screams: Zimbabwe’s Gender-Based Violence roll of shame
Flora Fadzai Sibanda, [email protected]
AS the world stands united in the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence towards women and girls, Zimbabwe mourns, reflecting on the haunting losses to gender-based violence this year. The scars left on families and the gaping wounds of unanswered questions, resonate deeply as the nation grapples with the sheer brutality that shattered lives.
A staggering 46 lives snuffed out in acts of gender-based violence, each a story of pain and shattered hope, a reminder of how far Zimbabwe yet stands from triumph in this battle.
Among the wrenching tales, the savagery endured by Aquiline Sadziwa cuts deepest into the conscience.
Her life extinguished in a flurry of 34 stabs by her estranged husband, who callously crushed her skull with a heavy stone.
A merciless act witnessed by her innocent child strapped to her back, a scene that defied humanity itself.
Her uncle, Mr Tonderayi Chingonzo, struggled to contain his anguish, recounting the brutality that tore his niece apart, leaving a blade detached from its handle, a sight too gruesome for words.
“I have never seen something like this. Even an animal cannot be killed like that. I was told by my wife to go and investigate what was happening after the couple’s child had informed the landlord that Aquiline was being attacked by Dube. When I got there I found Aquiline lying face down.
“There was a large stone next to her body that he had used to crush her head. I wonder what my niece did to deserve such a brutal killing,” he said while sobbing.
The horror did not spare Perseverance Ncube, slain in front of her children in Manchester, USA. A single fatal stab robbed her of breath, leaving her children to grapple with a life suddenly shattered.
Faith Musonza’s life, viciously taken and desecrated in Cranborne, Harare, hints at ritualistic motives, a macabre reminder of the darkest facets of human cruelty.
Petronela Mapuranga’s promising day turned into a nightmare as she was ruthlessly murdered while on her way to buy an evening meal. Dumped unceremoniously in a stream, her life ended abruptly, leaving behind unanswered questions and shattered dreams.
The tragic fate of Define William, whose hopeful stride towards a job interview turned into a heart-rending tale of disappearance and eventual discovery of her lifeless body, paints a grim reality of the dangers lurking within our communities.
Simosenkosi Sibanda’s life was snuffed out by her very partner, leaving behind a wailing infant beside her lifeless form — a sad image of an innocent life shattered by heinous violence.
Even more harrowing is the case of a Norton woman, found lifeless with a disfigured head, witnessed by her own children in unclear, horrifying circumstances.
The tale of 13-year-old Sikhulile Sibanda, whose young life was cut short due to maternal health complications from an adult predator’s actions, stands as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the innocent.
The haunting echoes of nine-year-old Ropafadzo Meki’s death, allegedly at the hands of her own mother’s violence, shock the conscience and highlight the distressing spectrum of violence plaguing Zimbabwe.
Babongile Mudau-Gora, a respected social worker, pointed to the festering roots of infidelity, poverty, and deeply entrenched cultural and religious beliefs as the cauldron fuelling gender-based violence.
“A lot needs to be done to end the violence against women and girls. Many stay in environments that lead to their abuse because they have no options,” she said.
Women, silenced by fear of shattered marriages and loss of livelihoods, often suffer in silence, their anguish a silent scream in a world marred by violence.
These lives lost to senseless brutality serve as a haunting reminder — a poignant call to action for a nation to stand against gender-based violence, to heal wounds and to prevent further tragedies from darkening the fabric of society.