Women urged to uphold their bodily autonomy and integrity rights

HUMAN Rights related to bodily autonomy and integrity in the context of sexuality and reproduction ensure that women and girls are empowered to make decisions about their reproductive and sexual lives.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) are not only a crucial part of healthcare, but they constitute an essential element for achieving gender equality and promoting women’s rights. They give women the possibility to make autonomous decisions about their own bodies and sexuality. More importantly, they keep women healthy, dignified and safe.

Against this backdrop, WILD conducted a Women’s dialogue on sexuality and politics with the aim to empower Women with knowledge that constantly reminds them of their bodily autonomy and integrity rights.

The dialogue also sought to provide a platform for women to discuss some of the challenges they face in leadership positions be it in politics, business or at a Community level.

Speaking during the dialogue, the Women’s Institute For Leadership Development Executive (WILD) Director urged Women to respect their bodies.

“The problems emanating from women being sexually violated are deeper than submission hence there is need for women to submit to themselves first, respect oneself, treat one’s body with integrity before submitting to the next person.

“A Woman should take ownership of her body and have principles or guidelines that  she abides by to respect that body,”said Samukeliso Khumalo.

The Executive Director also noted that there is lack of information on bodily autonomy and integrity rights.

“Sexual violation comes through many forms and is informed by a capitalist system, political system and power. Many women have been subjected to various forms of violations which range from psychological, sexual, physical and sometime verbal.

“Despite these violations, some women are not able to speak out because they don’t  know about their bodily autonomy and integrity rights,”said Samukeliso Khumalo.

Speaking during the dialogue, WILD Board Member Priscah Dube said there is a need to balance religion and culture.

“Religion and culture plays a vital role in the violation of women hence there is a need to balance between the two so that women can be able to control their bodies.

Due to religion women often accept violations towards their own bodies due to desperation and beliefs, for example accepting visions from witch doctors and prophets” said Priscah Dube.

The dialogue session was held at WILD Learning and Resource Centre in Bulawayo.




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