The Embassy of Sweden and United Nations in Zimbabwe jointly launched a campaign called “Because I am A Man” today featuring 16 influential Zimbabwean men to lead the way in the fight to end violence against women, girls and boys.
Addressing the media and over 70 participants at the launch held on the Embassy of Sweden’s office grounds, Her Excellency Sofia Calltorp, Ambassador of Sweden said, “In order to eradicate gender-based violence, we all need to come together, both women and men. But especially men. In their roles as fathers, brothers, husbands and as fellow human beings, men of all ages are key to bringing this violence to an end.”
It is hoped that by involving men in the conversation about the negative consequences of harmful behaviours including violence against women, girls and boys, the campaign will influence the Zimbabwean society at-large to view gender equality as a norm to aspire for.
Co-launching the campaign the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli said, “Violence against women, girls and boys is a grave violation of human rights and an affront to the inherent equality and dignity of women. It is high time men hold each other accountable for their actions towards women, girls and boys and prevent the continued normalisation of gender-based violence. It is also important for influential men in society to stand in solidarity with women, girls and boys and show their support for them.”
The “Because I am a Man” campaign was launched at the Embassy of Sweden with the official reveal of 16 art works featuring the men taking a strong stance against gender-based violence. The showcased men were present at the event and were able to speak about the messages that they represent in the campaign.
It is often the case that women and girls are met with doubt when they speak about the abuse they have faced and even stigmatised by their communities as a result. Under the banner “Because I am a Man” the 16 men are taking a strong stand against all types of gender-based violence, including, but not limited to, physical and verbal harassment, physical and sexual abuse of women and children as well as forced child marriages and other harmful practices.
It is estimated in Zimbabwe that about 1 in 3 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence and about 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. As with any violation of human rights, one is one too many.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is an opportunity to mobilise activists, organisations and communities worldwide to take action to end this type of violence. The 16 men representing each day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence with their key messages and commitment will go a long way in galvanising communities in Zimbabwe to end violence against women, girls and boys.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence was first launched in 1991 by Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, making it the longest-running campaign for women’s rights globally.
Each year, it starts on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and continues through to 10 December (Human Rights Day) with the aim of galvanising global action to end the violence against women and girls in every corner of the world.
Detailed information about the 16 men, their messages for other men who would like to join the campaign can be accessed on the following links: Facebook: httpss://www.facebook.com/BecauseImaManZW/ , and Twitter: @BecauseImaManZW