#Stayhomestaysafe, that hashtag has gone viral since the advent of the COVID19 global outbreak. The assumption is that home is the safest place for everyone. Unfortunately this is not so for women who have found themselves locked down with their abusers
The Amalgamated Rural Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe has received and verified reports of the death of two female teachers from Gender Based Violence (GBV) related incidents. This is a sad loss to the teaching community and an affront to women’s rights.
Globally an upsurge in cases of violence against women has become a case of concern. The UN has called it the “The shadow pandemic”. A direct result of women being locked in with their abusers at a time when tensions are high and economic uncertainty is looming. Women become the outlets for misplaced anger and aggression.
Women’s organizations in Zimbabwe have made deliberate efforts to provide women at risk with safety nets. Women in rural areas are unfortunately underserved as far as these efforts are concerned. In both rural locations where the two teachers lost their lives there were no GBV services available.
The restrictions have left most women without their safety nets, these in rural settings come in form of social networks including church groups. When women have no access to these networks they are isolated and therefore more vulnerable to abuse.
The COVID19 outbreak has exposed once again the gap in social service provision by government. Most GBV programming is offered by non state actor and in communities where these are absent women are left exposed.
Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)