Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ), a non-partisan national network of women’s rights organisations and activists striving for the rights of women and girls, commemorates 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.
It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
Research evidence has shown that in Zimbabwe, 1 in 3 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence and about 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 1 .
The situation has since worsened due to COVID-19 as socio-economic effects of the pandemic, coupled with living in the same space for a continued period of time increasing the number of GBV cases.
The mandatory lockdowns have seen many women and girls being trapped with their abusers and not knowing where to go or how to get help during the lockdown.
With COVID-19 still a reality and the threats of GBV on the lives of women and girls still ravaging, WCoZ continues to call for Government to prioritize the continuity of GBV services with GBV service providers continuously being recognised as essential workers, integration of GBV services as well as information vital in GBV and COVID-19 response to end violence against women.
Since its outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has been directing much-needed attention to gender- based violence (GBV) worldwide and is particularly shining a light on the hidden epidemic of intimate partner violence (IPV).
In fact, in recent months, there has been a plethora of high-profile statements calling for measures to address the GBV ‘shadow pandemic’.