Stiffer penalties proposed to curb GBV

Stiffer penalties proposed to curb GBV
November 28 14:44 2018

By Masline Mavudzi

Members of the parliament and civil society have been urged to go beyond the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) to promote ubuntuism.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda said this during the launch of the campaign at the Parliament building were Netherlands embassy lighted it up orange on Monday.

“The 16 Days of Activism campaign should not have timelines it must be an occasion that we remember each day of our lives 365 days per year if we do only 16 the chances are that we may forget. I am therefore encouraging all of us that this remembrance should always be ached in our minds each day of our lives so that we become truly the apostles advocating against GBV. I appeal to the honorable members of parliament, civil society to continually campaign against GBV in your constituencies where you come from in the communities where you come from.

“I would also like these campaigns to be extended to our education system especially among the schools and tertiary institutions. The dignity of all persons and calls upon us that it be respected that men and women share that. Same virtue of dignity at all times irrespective of our stations in life. GBV must register our belief in ubuntu/hunhu,” he said.

Advocate Mudenda added that there was need for parliament to review laws to combat the scourge for GBV.

“It is essential that we should review our law so that stiffer penalties accompany those who are found on wrong sides in terms of practicing GBV. It is up to the parliament therefore to come up with such robust legislation to take care of punitive actions that should arise from such laws at the same time we need to involve our traditional leaders and chiefs, herdsman and village heads.

“It is important that we as members of parliament ensure that in our constituencies, we become true advocates for education of the girl child so that the girl child is given a foundation that will enable her to stand on her own. It is therefore important that empowerment of the girl child and woman should be our priorities in our society,” said Advocate Mudenda.

He also urged stakeholders to embark on a serious research and find the root cause of GBV as its numbers are increasing every day.

Speaking at the same event, the Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe, Barbra van Hellemond expressed concern on how women in politics in Zimbabwe were being abused with their male counterparts.

“I have been in Zimbabwe since August last year and one of the things that struck me most was the amount of abuse the Zimbabwe women in politics have to go through am shocked at some of the stories I have heard of the levels of verbal, physical and sexual abuse women have had to put up with. As a woman I really felt for these women but this doesn’t affect the women it affects all of us and we all should play out role in making this stop.

“We need to acknowledge the problem and stop belittling it like some women are belittled. We need to stop looking away discuss the issues take away the feeling and shame among victims and bring perpetrators to justice. The cycle needs to be broken and men and women have a role in breaking the cycle,” she said.

Ambassador Hellemond said lighting up Zimbabwe Parliament orange was to draw attention to women in politics and acknowledge the country’s democracy. As the vision of parliament was to be an effective, efficient participatory gender sensitive and democratic parliament that represented the needs and aspirations of its people.

“Education and empowerment are key in stamping out GBV and sometimes you need to push the violence in order to be able to move forward. We have the tools, parliament have the tools and legislator at their disposals to make this pandemic violence stop. Now we need the will to make and end GBV against women a reality.

“I would like to honor the many strong women here tonight that carry this beautiful country on their shoulders. Let us make sure every woman in Zimbabwe feels seen, let us make sure every woman in Zimbabwe feels heard let us make sure every woman and girl child in Zimbabwe is safe,” said ambassador Hellemond.

Statistics show that in Zimbabwe 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.

This year Zimbabwe’s 16 Days of Activism is running under the theme, “ Creating Zero tolerance to Sexual Harassment in the work place” and Globally the theme is ”HearMeToo”.

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