More funding needed in efforts against GBV
Farirai Machivenyika-Senior Reporter
Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus Cde Maybe Mbowa has called on parliamentarians to lobby for increased funding in the fight against gender-based violence which mostly tends to affect women and girls.
According to the 2019 multiple indicator survey, one in two women aged between 15 to 49 years had experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse committed by the current or last husband or partner.
Cde Mbowa called for more funding while officiating at a sensitisation workshop for MPs on the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence that runs from November 25 to December 10 every year and this year will be held under the theme, “Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls.”
“The theme is even more relevant to us Parliamentarians as we are mandated to make laws for the good governance of the country. As you are all aware, we are currently in the budget formulation season and the 2024 Budget will soon be tabled before us on 30 November.
“In light of that, l would like to take this opportunity to implore us all to follow proceedings so that we all participate effectively and call on the government to invest adequately to curb gender-based violence in Zimbabwe. Huge financial resources are required to strengthen institutions that are mandated to fight this scourge,” she said.
Cde Mbowa bemoaned the prevalence of gender-based violence despite Government and partners’ efforts to eradicate it.
“Despite these progressive constitutional provisions and laws such as Domestic Violence Act, Sexual Offences Act, and Trafficking in Persons Act, the rate of GBV is still concerning. According to the 2019 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Report, 39,4 percent of adolescent girls and women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence since age 15.
“This rate spiked by over 60 percent during the Covid-19 lockdown period according to data presented by Musasa Project. It is needless to stress that this situation is untenable. Even more worrying is the fact that the majority of the victims are women and girls,” she said.
ZRP’s Victim Friendly Unit national coordinator Assistant Commissioner Elizabeth Phiri said aggravated indecent assault tops the list of crimes being committed against women and girls at 22 percent, followed by domestic violence and rape.
“Some of the challenges we face include failure by victims and witnesses to testify in court due to customary norms and beliefs and withdrawal of gender-based violence cases from courts by victims,” she said.
Elizabeth Satumba, the acting director for gender in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small & Medium Enterprise Development reiterated Government’s commitment in ending gender-based violence.