Nyore Madzianike and Geraldine Zaranyika
Men should take the lead in the fight against gender-based violence because court records show far more men than women are perpetrators, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary Mr Walter Chikwana said yesterday.
Mr Chikwana made the call during the JSC's commemorations at the Harare Magistrates' Court and in recognition of the launch of 16 days of activism against gender -based violence.
The event saw the inclusion of Harare Magistrates' Court on the list of buildings and monuments under Orange the World campaign, which is calling for a future environment free of violence.
"To us in the JSC, it is a very important day because of the critical role that we play as the people who are running the courts in this country and in leading this nation in dealing with matters of gender-based violence, especially cases of sexual abuse and rape that come to our courts," said Mr Chikwana.
"Two weeks ago, I participated in the launch of the protocol in management of sexual violence matters and victim friendly system in Zimbabwe.
"This is the protocol that brings together various players in the justice department, including civic organisations, in which we come together and agree in the manner we are going to manage cases of sexual abuse that come to our courts and within our systems."
Mr Chikwana said the choice of Harare Magistrates' Court was important, as it was the busiest criminal court in Zimbabwe.
He said the court received thousands of criminal cases, including sexual and gender-based violence, that resulted in the JSC committing a specialised court to deal with the cases.
He applauded partners who organised the event, including UN Women.
United Nations representative to Zimbabwe Ms Maria Gomez do Ribeiro said she took pride in the JSC by enlisting the Harare Magistrates' Court as one of the iconic buildings and monuments under Orange the World campaign.
She said timely and victim-sensitive services by the court will send a message to would-be perpetrators that rape and other abuses had no place in societies.
"The UN is working to end all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals," she said.
"In our spirit of 'Leaving No-One Behind' we emphasise the call by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, that 'Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free of fear of violence and everyday insecurity', can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world."
"During these 16 Days of Activism, we call upon more institutions to believe in equality and stand against rape.
"We need to do more to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable. I believe this is the commitment that the Judicial Service Commission is making today."