Masvingo City Council in partnership with other organisations has joined the global community in commemorating 16 days of activism against gender-based violence to raise awareness and empower girls and women at an event held on November 29, 2023 at Charles Austin Theatre.
This year’s commemorations are running under the theme ‘unite, invest to prevent violence against women and girls and the Masvingo event saw a number of organisations like Zimbabwe Gender Commission, Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Women Coalition of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWALA), Zimbabwe Association of Church related Hospitals (ZACH) taking part.
Local schools including Don Bosco Primary School, Victoria Primary, Dikwindi Primary, Hillside, Helen McGhie, Rujeko Secondary and Mucheke High Schools attended the event.
Ministry of women Affairs’ representative Piwai Ziso said people should end violence against women and girls in communities and urged the two groups to urgently report cases of violence saying that was a step in ending GBV..
“People should end violence against women and girls in society and women should be aware of channels followed to report such cases and they should share them in the society to make sure that everyone knows what to do when faced with the social ill. People should report to any nearest police station, childline, or to call 116,” said Ziso.
Ziso said violence against women was preventable but it needed collective effort from everyone.
“Violence against women is not inevitable, it is preventable and that is why we are calling upon the society to unite, invest to prevent violence against women and girls and if you know someone who has been sexually abused, tell them to visit the nearest clinic within seventy-two hours.
Masvingo junior councillor Vimbainashe Chinongo said the society had a mandate to protect the girl child through empowerment and respecting rights.
“Girl child empowerment is important in the society and people should always give a girl child a chance, sometimes girls are going for drug and substance abuse because the community is neglecting them, the society should empower them by respecting their rights and not abuse them,” said Chinongo.
Zimbabwe Gender Commission coordinator Masvingo region Haward Vhurana said the duty of ZGC was to empower women and girls in the community by protecting them from gender-based violence as well as to work on gender equity.
“The main objective of the organisation is to empower women and girls in the community by protecting them from gender-based violence and providing gender equity to both women and girls in the society,” said Vhurana.
Vhurana added that women and girls can get support from the Department of Social Services, girl child protection committee members, trusted community members or children’s organisations that may help to overcome gender-based violence in the society.
Gender Focal Person, Alice Mashinge said women and girls with disabilities were vulnerable to sexual abuse and they need protection from organisations dealing with gender issues.
“We urge both women and girls with disabilities to know that they are vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation and gender-based organisations will prevent and protect them from gender-based violence,” said Mashinge.