THE government, in conjunction with civil society launched the Zimbabwe Orange Day which will be commemorated on the 25th of each month to raise awareness on gender-based violence.
The initiative comes after the realisation that the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence celebrated globally from November 25 to December 10 was not raising enough awareness, as cases of violence against women were still increasing and some victims remained silent or withdrew cases of violence, despite several campaigns.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Harare last week, acting Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development minister Chris Mushowe said there was no excuse for violence against women. He encouraged everyone to join the fight against gender-based violence.
“Electronic media should continue to be used to facilitate discussion and clarify elements of gender-based violence. Artistes should educate people on forms, dangers and advantages of reporting violence to authorities,” he said.
“Cases of violence have been tolerated enough as we have even seen the church now being a breeding ground of unimaginable acts of sexual abuse.
“Anyone found violating women’s rights will be dealt with ruthlessly.”
Tag a Life International founder and executive director Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said Zimbabwe was not fully liberated if women were still not free to do as they pleased in their country.
“I would like to challenge the people that infringe the rights of women in the streets and homes to think of the liberation heroes and what it is they were really fighting for,” he said.
“Many women are afraid to walk in some parts of town because of fear of victimisation. This is no different to the days before independence, as women were not allowed to walk in some streets in town.”
Mashayamombe went on to challenge the country’s mayors and councils to instil order in public places, particularly bus terminuses nationwide.
“I would like to call on the mayors and the city councils in the country to put order in public places and streets of Zimbabwe because there is a lot of abuse of women,” she said.
“The issue of security must be prioritised and the police must know that security is not only for the rich and elite, but also for the ordinary humans that are disrespected and abused on the streets.”
Individuals are encouraged to wear orange on Orange Day, to remind perpetrators to stop violence and encourage victims to report every case of violence, as silence encourages more violence.