The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Gender-Based Violence Slammed

Withdrawal of reported cases of gender-based violence by women in response to pressure from families has become a cause for concern, a Cabinet minister has said. In her address to a gathering marking the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence in Harare yesterday Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paurina Mpariwa expressed concern over some cultural practices she said suppressed women.

"We are concerned about women, who for fear of breaking their marriages report abuse and then withdraw their cases. Police would have wasted scarce resources in investigating these cases only for the women to withdraw their cases," she said.

Speaking at the same ceremony Beitbridge Senator Tambudzani Mohadi said rural women lacked information and were usually neglected during outreach programmes.

"Most cases in Beitbridge go unreported and this has affected even school girls. We have a high school dropout rate caused by gender-based violence," she said.

She said it was important for rural women to be involved in awareness programmes.

British Ambassador Deborah Bronnert urged policy makers to provide for the education of women to help break the cycle of sexual violence.

She deplored the culture of impunity that she said abetted cases of gender violence.

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