26 November 2016

Zimbabwe: Domestic Violence - 45,000 Cases Reported This Year

DOMESTIC violence is on the increase in Zimbabwe with police records showing that some 40,500 cases were reported between January and September this year alone.

Speaking during commemorations of the international day of gender based violence (GBV) in Harare Friday, UN resident coordinator Bishow Parajuli said there was a spike in cases of abuse, especially against women and girls.

GBV is a grave violation of human rights with the problem deeply rooted in gender inequality and discrimination.

"As others say, it is only because reporting is getting better but that does not matter," he said.

"There are still many thousands of cases of gender-based violence cases not being reported across the country and we know that even one case, is one too many.

"As such, as we commemorate 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, we know we have to do more than gather to remember and to reflect. We have to do something about it."

The UN Coordinator said violence against women has serious consequences for development, with significant threats to households' economic welfare as it impacts scarce public resources for essential health, security and infrastructure services.

"This human rights violation is costing the world dearly," he said.

"As the UN, we believe that when GBV and gender inequalities are reduced, more children go to school, families are healthier, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase."

Reports indicated that one in every three girls in Zimbabwe experiences sexual violence before they turn 18 years of age and 78 percent of women report that their husband or intimate partner is the perpetrator.

In addition, women are in a worse position than men in terms of literacy in Zimbabwe despite being the majority with 48.7 percent of adult women having reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 62% of their male counterpart.

Representation in Parliament stands at 35%, and this has only been made possible due to special measures provided in the constitution.

The latest Zimbabwe Health Demographic Survey shows that, in terms of health, women are disadvantaged grossly with the HIV prevalence rate between ages 15-49 standing at 18 percent, compared to 12 percent among men.

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