Thursday, June 1, 2023

Violence against women escalates in mining communities

Perpetua Murungweni

Violence has escalated in mining communities with mostly women and children suffering the brunt from its various forms, African Women in Mining Empowerment Trust (AWOMET) has said.
Speaking during an engagement meeting between National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), AWOMET and other stakeholders organized by Institute of Community Development in Zimbabwe (ICODZIM), on March 21, AWOMET chairperson Sophia Takuva said women in mining communities experienced an increase in violence resulting from the rise in numbers of men looking for employment in their communities.
“Due to the rise of men looking for employment as part of the development of artisanal mining (chikorokoza), violence has increased in the mining communities and women are the victims as there is an increase in numbers of women reporting violence in their communities.
“The increase of violence in mining communities has led to sexual abuse, rape, drug and alcohol abuse and a rise in prostitution as well as unwanted pregnancies.
“Young girls are sexually abused and raped by the miners. Prostitution has become high in these communities as these miners lure young girls with money and some of the girls are dropping out of school to join that business.
“In these communities, violence is brought from the mining sector to the community as some people are being killed, threatened and sexually abused as a way of revenge,” Takuva said.
She called upon organizations like NPRC to join hands with them in fighting for safe and peaceful mining communities.
“As an organization that deals with women in both mining sectors and mining communities, we are urging organizations such as NPRC to work together with in helping these communities maintain and protect women and children,” she added.
Speaking during the same meeting, NPRC Commissioner Dr Tinashe Rukuni agreed to work together with other stakeholders in order to achieve one goal as they have a mandate of maintaining peace.
“We promise to work hand in hand with other stakeholders as we have a mandate of ensuring post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation, including developing programmes that promote national healing, unity and peaceful conflict resolution,” said Dr Rukuni.
He also highlighted that NPRC is working towards ensuring its accessibility in all districts to ensure that no one is left behind.
“We are working on our visibility in all Masvingo districts so that no one will be left behind and everyone gets the assistance they need,” he added.

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