To kickstart the commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Civil Society Organizations in Matabeleland organised a community outreach meeting in Pumula North on 23 November 2021. The community outreach was attended by various stakeholders including representatives from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
The commemorations were held under the theme “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!”
The event was coordinated by Women’s institute for Leadership Development, Emthonjeni Women’s Forum, Bulawayo progressive Residents Association, with support from Diakonia.
Speaking during the commemorations, Ministry of Women’s Affairs representative Mr Dlomo highlighted that stopping Gender Based Violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms and empower women and girls.
“Working together as different stakeholders will lead to a collective end of Gender Based Violence in our communities” assured Mr Dhlomo.
The presentation was followed by a movie screening which was aimed at exposing the violence faced by women which has been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie was titled “MY VOICE.”
The movie calls for a genuine fight against violence in an effort to create safe spaces. The movie demonstrated that ending violence in communities is a responsibility for the whole community. It also demonstrated that it is critical to combat not only the individual instances of violence, but also the systemic forms of violence, as violence does not occur in a vacuum but rather in a society that condones and encourages it.
“Men should take part in this war to end violence considering that it can affect anyone despite your level of education or your gender” said Patricia Tshabalala.
During the outreach, a representative from the Zimbabwean Republic Police Assistant Inspector Nomalanga unpacked what Gender Based Violence is and how to avoid it.
“Gender-based violence against women refers to violence that is inflicted on women due to stereotypes and roles attributed to or expected of them according to their sex or gender identity,” said Ass Insp Nomalanga.
Community women highlighted that since violence against women is embedded in social contexts, prevention programs and efforts require strategies that challenge the value systems, norms and social environments that normalise violence.
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