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Youths concerned over rising Technologically Assisted Violence

Youths in Bulawayo are concerned over the current trend of online violence targeting young girls. The trends have increased due to the wide usage of smartphones, internet connectivity and online trolling.

These concerns were raised at a recently held Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Youth Talk that was conducted at the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), yesterday. Hosting the GBV Youth Talk was fundamental as it coincided with the International Human Rights Day under the theme: “Stand Up for Human Rights” Society fails to take online violence earnestly as there are minimal laws that are aimed at protecting victims.

This year’s commemoration of Human Rights Day also marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a milestone document in the history of human rights. The Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

“Our behavior in some spaces has a bearing as it can lead to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) when we least anticipate for it to happen,” stated Lydia Banda, a young woman who was present during the GBV Youth Talk. “We forget to note that our social media posts can determine the level of respect that we receive from those who are friends with us in the virtual world.”

Over the past couple of months, online violence has targeted women in influential leadership positions as observed in Zimbabwe’s 2018 harmonised elections where women were at times disrespected or referred to by derogatory terms.

However, there are other causes that were linked to the eruption of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) within communities.

“Men are at times pressured to live up to societal expectations which expects them to be the ones responsible for taking care of the family’s finances,” said Ndumiso Siziba, a young man who was present during one of the GBV Talks. “Failure to live up to these expectations leads to minimal communication in the home and when not attended to frustrations build up and are expressed through violence.”

This year there was a remarkable improvement in the turnout of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) which is a commendable move towards the eradication of widespread violence.

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