Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) has joined the global community through a campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the intensity of Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women and girls. The Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA 1995) observes that GBV is an obstacle to development and peace which violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Today, the 26th of November 2018 marks the second day of the International commemoration on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) which is running under the theme: “Orange the World: #HearMeToo”. The International 16 Days of Activism campaign focuses on generating an increased awareness of the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and children, and the social fabric of our society. It also encourages women who have suffered abuse to be free to come out and share their stories.
The campaign stretches from the 25th of November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women and ends on the 10th of December, Human Rights Day. According to the United Nations, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse in their lifetime. In some places in the world, the situation is even worse with some 70% of women and girls reporting they have experienced violence due to their gender.
According to the Zimbabwe National Gender Based Violence Strategy (2012 -2015), despite the enactment of several gender responsive laws and policies, such as the Domestic Violence Act of 2007, women and girls in Zimbabwe, continue to be the victims in 99% of GBV cases especially within the private sphere.
WILD’s involvement in the campaign is motivated by its vision to see women and girls at the core of social, economic and political development. A woman’s ability to participate in the development of the community is deterred by cases of abuse they are exposed to. When women are victims of GBV this reduces their ability to actively engage in civic issues.
Events lined up for the campaign include online discussions which will be conducted on Twitter, Facebook, and on WhatsApp. Parallel programs will be run separate from the online campaign and these include, radio shows, Youth Talks and Tea Talks.
Zimbabwe ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1991, the Protocol to The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in 2007 and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development in 2009. These instruments call upon member countries to implement strategies aimed at eradicating Gender Based Violence, which has become a social ill in our communities and hinders sustainable development.
At the end of the campaign, WILD anticipates to create adequate momentum that will enable more conversations to be conducted around Gender Based Violence.
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