By Anyway Yotamu
In an effort to curb the rising Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases, Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender with other organizations namely Musasa Project and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA) with the support from Christian Aid has partnered the Parliament of Zimbabwe in order to address this challenge.
In an interview with Spiked Online Media on the sidelines of a two-day workshop held in Harare, Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender National Chairperson Mr. Jonah Gokova said, “We met here with various Thematic committees of Parliament that deal with gender specifically on how we can improve legislation to curb gender-based violence in the country. Gender-based violence is a national problem and there’s concern that we need to bring some control over it and to eliminate it. There is also an important role that we feel legislators can play that’s why we are here and the deliberations were very encouraging and fruitful,” he said.
“We have made certain commitments that we are going to follow up on. We want to develop rural-based awareness campaigns so that those living in rural communities can understand the laws that protect them against gender-based violence. Whether they are men or women they should enjoy the same protection.”
Gokova said in urban areas there is also an increase in cases of gender-based violence especially during the time of lockdown induced by Covid-19. His organisation is working to ensure that individuals who are subjected to violence get protected and are supported in order for them to have safety in their communities. It also encourages men to desist from violence and find ways of communicating with their partners without the use of violence.
The Padare/Enkundleni as an organization that specifically deals with men. There is an increase in cases where men are being abused by women. Padare feels that there is a need for them to bring other organizations such as Musasa and WILSA to help in deliberating these issues.
“We’re getting reports where some men are also being abused by women. As Padare we have a counselling service to men who are perpetrators of violence and for those being abused we have a way of finding support to such people if they approach us,” added Gokova.
The Padare National Director, Walter Vengesayi also shares the same sentiments on the need for their organisation to engage with legislators for their role to eliminate GBV.
“As an organization, we engage with boys starting from primary school level to tertiary on gender. Padare engages the boys and tries to make positive strides towards gender issues and has been able to make sure that even young boys can contribute to debates to do with GBV in their communities so they grow up as with a good approach towards these issues,” said Vengesayi.
“We’re also giving social-psycho support to the perpetrators of gender-based violence. 90% of our programs are rural-based where there’s the highest percentage of GBV cases. For now, we are working in Manicaland Province where we have targeted seven districts. We are also in two districts of Matabeleland North but we’re going in more districts across the country especially those hard to reach areas,” he added.
Senator Watson Khuphe who is the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Gender and Development said, “We have assured these organizations that we’re committed to taking this to Parliament so that government can put more resources toward gender issues especially in rural areas where there is a lot of cases. There is a need to increase more police force in remote areas where these cases are happening day in day out without justice, ” he said.
Zimbabwe has witnessed a spike in Gender-Based Violence cases following Covid-19 stay-at-home- lockdown measures announced by the Zimbabwean government in line with World Health Organisations’ recommendations to curb the spread of the disease since March this year.