Gender Based Violence continues to pose a serious human rights and health challenges among communities of Chitungwiza despite efforts by the government and the civil society organisations to protect women and girls from the scourge. The government of Zimbabwe passed into law the Domestic Violence Act (Chapter 5:16) in 2007 to provide relief and protection for the victims of domestic violence and on January 2016 the Constitutional Court handed down a ruling on chid marriage which states that no marriage for boys and girls under the age of 18.
The reason why gender based violence cases continue to increase in Chitungwiza is because there is substantial funding shortfall to translate the national efforts by the government into effective programmes and practices that make positive changes in the lives of women and girls of Chitungwiza.
While commemorating the 16 days of activism against gender based violence Chitungwiza Community Development Network (CCDN) is calling upon the government of Zimbabwe to secure adequate funding meant to increase efforts to prevent violence against women and girls, provide survivors with access to available essential services and justice, and ensure that laws and policies are implemented to real effect in Chitungwiza and Zimbabwe at large.
This is in line with the 2016 theme which states ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’.
Domestic Violence is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights, denying women security, dignity, self-esteem and their fundamental rights. With legal instruments such as the Domestic Violence Act and the landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court on child marriages, safe shelters for the victims of domestic violence, gender equality, women empowerment services to rebuild women’s lives and comprehensive prevention that starts early, ending violence against women and girls can become a reality. Yet, robust funding for efforts to end domestic violence remains insufficient.
As CCDN we are appealing to the government of Zimbabwe to source and provide sufficient funding and necessary resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls that is severely lacking. The government should also provide sustained funding for organisations working to end violence against women and girls.
Domestic violence remains the largest threat to human development and a gross violation to women’s rights in Chitungwiza yet the work towards the key issues that affect women is underfunded.
The government has to provide funding and resources for the projects meant to empower women with livelihoods skills so that they can be economically independent given that one of the reasons why women remain silent and continue to live with abusive partners is their are economic dependence on male counterparts. The government should also provide funding for the less-privileged girls to attend school. Funding to put in place safe shelters for the victims of domestic violence is also very critical.
In a bid to end gender based violence the Government of Zimbabwe should increase resource mobilization efforts and resource allocations towards gender based violence prevention, response and implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and the Landmark ruling on Child Marriage.