The 16 Days of Activism period is commemorated each year from the 25th of November, which is the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on the 10th of December on Human Rights Day. This tribute period came as one of the important solutions to the worldwide problem of violence against women. The 16 days are therefore used to raise awareness on specific issues which are hindering women from the enjoyment of full human rights such as rape, domestic violence, child marriages and genital mutilation among others. This period is not only limited to awareness raising but it calls upon everyone to formulate and implement strategies which will result in an end to gender based violence.
Each year, a theme is used as a collective tool for addressing the specific issues which are affecting diverse groups of women in the world. This year’s theme is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape” which has been informed by the many worldwide movements such as #MeToo #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and #AmINext and #EnoughIsEnough which were popularised in Africa after the heinous murder and rape of South Africa University of Capetown student. All these movements were formulated as responsive and protective mechanisms to combat the prevalence of sexual violence in each region or country. Each country is at liberty to craft a national theme which responds to umbrella theme given for each year. In Zimbabwe, the theme for 16 Days of Activism is “Prevention, Protection, Participation and Service” and the aim of this theme is to improve service provision for women who are victims and survivors of sexual gender based violence and to take the services to people in their communities.
Rape is problem in Zimbabwe. According to ZimStat (Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency), an estimated 9 873 rape cases were reported in 2018 meaning that an average of 823 cases per month was recorded. Between January and February 2019, ZimStat reported that 1261 cases of rape were recorded. Rape is unlawful sexual intercourse, which happens without the other person’s consent or agreement to the act. Women and girls are not safe at home, in schools, in public spaces and in places of worship. It is important to ensure that both public and private spaces are safe for women. We must join forces as Zimbabweans from different spheres of society to end gender based violence and to work towards the full realisation of gender equity and gender balance. The change starts with us. #OrangeTheWord #GenerationEquality
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For a 24 hour response to Gender Based Violence issues, call our toll free number 08080131: hotlines 0776736873/0782900900