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“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance,”-Kofi Annan.

Traditional leaders have welcomed the establishment of a one stop gender based violence survival centre recently launched at the Gweru provincial hospital as a major milestone towards creating a gender just society.
Chief Gambiza of Chiundura community who was part of the proceedings at the GBV one stop center for survivors said the concentration of essential services for victims of gender based violence is relevant as most rural women who are usually victims of physical abuse will now be easily captured at the hospital, follow due processes and get to be legally empowered on handling issues of abuse.

Besides championing rural development processes, statistics recently revealed at a one stop survival center on GBV in Gweru reflected the rural women as most physically abused sect though reportage of cases remain significantly low.
“Though our village head was well known for sexually abusing vulnerable women, many could not report or speak openly for fear of being denied access to food handouts or supplementary support being extended to areas affected worst by the drought situation.”

Thenty three year old Maurina Moyo explained her ordeal .
“In areas like Gokwe south, where I come from, the village leaders are taking advantage of many young women and child headed families whom they are supposed to identify and list them as beneficiaries of handouts from government or development partners.

Many young girls who live in child headed families due to HIV / Aids or parents migration have fallen prey to these cunning society leaders and are being sexually exploited so that they continue to be listed to receive their rightful vulnerability cushioning share.

“I was beaten by my brothers following a heated argument when I told them I was going to report the village head for women abuse. Since my brothers were close associates or rather informants of the village head, they quickly disapproved my thinking. I suffered serious bruises on my back and a leg injury. They chased me away from home referring me as a disgrace to the family who wants the family to die from hunger. ( une shavi rehurombo uye unoda kutiuraisa nenzara gore rino),” explained Maurina Moyo.
Upon arrival at Gweru provincial hospital Maurina was able to receive medical attention, make a police report and receive legal and psycho social support all under one roof.

‘The experience I received here opened my eyes to a new world. A world where women’s concerns are taken seriously and I am glad that there are laws that protect women from physical and sexual abuse.”

“My wish is for rural communities to be exposed so that many will not suffer in silence due to lack of knowledge.” highlighted Maurina.

Her story is indeed a micro reflection of how rural women fall on the receiving side of gender based violence.
Officially opening the Gweru one stop center for survivors of gender violence recently at Gweru Provincial Hospital, the minister of women affairs, gender and community development, cde Nyasha Chikwinya said Zimbabwe has experienced significant levels of gender based violence and government has put in place mechanisms and legal instruments to protect the menace causes a major setback to socio- economic development
“The government of Zimbabwe is currently implementing a multi-sectoral approach in dealing with gender based violence issues. The model brings together government departments, nongovernmental organisations and faith based organisations as well as traditional leaders in a well coordinated manner to respond to gender based violence”.
The one stop center concept of responding to gender based violence is aimed at increasing access to comprehensive needs of adult and child survivors to healthcare needs which includes post exposure prophylaxes and emergency contraceptives. Psycho social support, police services and legal aid services are also part of the package.
Since the inception of the Center at Gweru PROVINCIAL hospital, a total of six hundred and ninety nine females and twenty three males have been assisted and almost ninety nine percent of the cases are of sexual violence.

The violence against women baseline survey conducted by the ministry of women affairs in partnership with Gender Links and Musasa project in 2012 reported the prevalence rate of violence against women at 68 percent while the Zimbabwe demographic health survey of 2015 also point to high prevalence of GBV (physical violence at 31 percent , sexual violence at 13percent and emotional violence at 32 percent)
Meanwhile, Munyaradzi Nhengo of Padare men’s forum in Gweru says attitudes are beginning to change in terms of respect within the marriage institution as women are now actively involved in home economics.

“Cases of abuse of women especially in the rural areas are gradually going down because more women are being economically empowered. When a woman is working and bringing food on the table, the husband tends to respect her opinion and decision as well” said Nhengo.

Pastor Army Phiri of the Gweru Pastors Fraternal says the church condemns gender based violence and it is one of the dominating subject whenever they hold interdenominational men forums.
“We denounce gender based violence and we have targeted programmes in the church in order to address this moral cancer” .
Gender based violence remains a major challenge in AFRICA with gender based attacks on cyber space platforms, including social media, some of which has resulted in death, health challenges and court cases

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