The Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) joins the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) under the theme ‘End Gender-Based Violence: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”
The 16 Days of Activism commemoration starts on the 25th of November every year coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ending on the 10th of December, the International Human Rights Day. This year’s commemorations are taking place at a time when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts.
COVID-19 has forced governments across the world to implement measures that restrict public movement as a way of containing the pandemic. The situation of home confinement has worsened the existing violence against victims particularly women and girls due to their increased proximity to the perpetrator.
Studies have revealed that many people are losing their jobs and other sources of income particularly those in the informal sector. This has resulted in increased pressures and conflicts as families struggle to make ends meet. Zimbabwe noted a spike in the number of reported domestic violence cases, particularly during the lockdown period. Restricted movement, social isolation, and economic insecurity are increasing women and girls’ vulnerability to violence in the home set up.
The Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) notes that the Constitution of Zimbabwe is progressive in that it recognises the equality of all persons and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex. The Constitution further provides for right to freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sources. The Domestic Violence Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act offers protection to survivors of gender-based violence.
While the legal framework is progressive, implementation remains a challenge particularly in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some cases go unreported due to limited information and awareness on available services as well as limited access to support services.
As we continue to raise awareness on Gender-Based Violence, the LRF calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe and all stakeholders to work collaboratively in Funding. Responding and Preventing GBV.
Source: Legal Resources Foundation