MEN in Matabeleland South province have been urged to exercise self-control to reduce cases of abuse against women and girls, amid revelations the province has the highest number of cases of rape and teenage pregnancy countrywide.
The chilling revelations came to light during commemorations to mark 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
Gwanda mayor Knowledge Ndlovu, who was the guest speaker at the event held at Phelandaba Stadium, revealed that 68% of women in Zimbabwe have experienced some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime.
“We note with alarm the increase in cases of gender-based violence around the country and Gwanda district is no exception,” he said.
“It has been revealed that violence is high among intimate partners and this in a way makes the home an unsafe space for women and girls. We, therefore, call upon our fellow men who are our brothers, fathers, grandfathers and dear husbands to some, not to take violence against women and girls as just a women’s issue, but take it as their responsibility as well by promoting safe space for women and girls.”
Ndlovu said gender-based violence had been identified as a significant driver of HIV and Aids infections in women as a result of imbalances in decision-making and harmful cultural practices that make it difficult for women and girls to protect themselves from reproductive diseases.
This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in Our Communities: Promoting safe Spaces for Women and Girls”.
“The theme speaks to all of us and reminds us that the values we uphold in the private sphere determine our behaviour in the public space and when we value peace in our homes we will also condemn violence in our community,” the mayor said.
The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign which started in 1991 and runs from November 25, which is the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women to December 10, which is Human Rights Day.