26 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Global 16 Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women Begins

Photo: IRIN
File Photo:Women collect firewood in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Sunday, November25th, is commemorated every year as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is also the beginning of the 16 Days Against Gender Based Violence campaign, meant to highlight the continuing problem worldwide.

This year the theme is "From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!" And many organisations around the world have planned activities to mark this important occasion.

The "16 Days Campaign", which originated in New York in 1991 at the Centre for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL), is being observed in Zimbabwe, particularly at the popular Book Café where a full calendar of arts programmes and workshops was launched on Saturday.

There was a fiesta involving different types of artists, who wrote conscious messages on the walls of the café, protesting violence against women

Speaking on our Beyond Protest programme last Friday, Book Café organiser Penny Yon said they have also organised a 16-day campaign full of entertainment and educational workshops, in an effort to help end violence against women.

Politically motivated violence still affects women in Zimbabwe more than any other demographic group, making the 16 Days campaign very important. This year is particularly relevant in, following the recent brutal assault of a well-known actress by her boyfriend.

According to reports that are based on available country data, between 15 to 76 per-cent of women experience physical or sexual violence perpetrated by men during their lifetime. The violence takes place at home, at work, on the streets and in schools. It does not matter whether it is during peacetime or in conflict.

Women's rights activist, Betty Makoni, who also heads the Girlchild Network in Zimbabwe, posted on her facebook profile: "All that I have achieved today for myself and thousands of girls round the world is just driven by passion and a determination to stop gross violations of girls' rights so that one day girls reach their full potential as women leaders."

Part of the Girlchild Network's mission is to monitor and document gross violations of girls' rights in Africa, then use their global advocacy network to inform the EU, African Union and United Nations.

The 16 days of activities at the Book Café will end December 8th with a special appearance by the acclaimed American hip-hop artist, Akua Naru. December 10th is Human Rights Day around the world and World AIDS Day will be commemorated on the 1st of December.

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