Zimbabwe‘s Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development 0ppah Muchinguri has called on all Zimbabweans to redouble their efforts to end Violence Against Women (VAW). Launching the country’s first comprehensive survey on the prevalence of VAW, on the eve of Human Rights Day she declared: “Today, as we draw close to the end of these commemorations, we are launching results of Zimbabwe’s first ever standalone research on violence against women and girls. The results of this survey are justification enough to even make much more noise for 365 days as there is clear evidence of high incidences of abuse of women and girls in Zimbabwe.”
Several speakers at the launch, attended by over 100 participants from local government, gender officers from all ten provinces of Zimbabwe, the Domestic Violence Council, Faith Based Organisations, and civil society organisations, echoed a similar view. “As we celebrate Human Rights Day, today is a moment to say loud and clear that women’s rights are human rights; they are indivisible, they cannot be negotiated or compromised in any way,” said Colleen Lowe Morna, CEO of Gender Links, which provided technical support for the study.
“A survivor is anyone: rich or poor, affluent and not so affluent, Christian and non-Christian,” said Netty Musanhu, Executive Director of Musasa, which gathered the “I” stories or first- hand accounts for the study. “This study lays bare the myth that if a woman has not been beaten she has not experienced violence. It shows that the highest form of violence is the emotional, psychological and economic violence that never enters the police statistics. This kills the self- esteem of women. It undermines their agency.”
Among the key findings of the Violence Against Women Indicators Study in Zimbabwe are that 68% women experienced some form of violence (psychological, emotional, economic, physical or sexual) in their lifetime. Twenty-six percent women experienced violence perpetrated by an intimate partner in the period 2011-2012. Thirteen percent of men in the country admit to perpetrating some form of violence against their intimate partners during a similar period.
Inspired by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development that aims to halve gender violence by 2015, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development (MWAGCD), Gender Links and the Musasa Project measured VAW experience and perpetration. With 6600 respondents from all ten provinces (3326 women and 3274 men), the study is the first standalone, nationally representative and comprehensive community-based research study of the prevalence of VAW in the country. The study, funded by Sida and UNWOMEN, shows that the intimate partner violence (IPV) experience prevalence by province over a lifetime ranges from 48% in Bulawayo to 88% in Mashonaland.