WOMEN’S Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development deputy minister Jennifer Mhlanga will on Monday headline a webinar meant to discuss the scourge of gender-based violence.
The event, to be hosted by the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) — publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday — will run under the theme “Ending gender-based violence in a Covid-19 era.”
Apart from deputy minister Mhlanga, the webinar will also feature a high-powered panel that includes Zimbabwe Gender Commission chairperson Margaret Sangarwe Mukahanana, Padare/Enkundleni/Men’s Forum on Gender national director, Walter Vengesai as well as Industrial Psychology Consultants managing consultant, Memory Nguwi.
ANZ is confident that the high profile webinar will bring much-needed spotlight on efforts to end gender-based violence.
“Gender-based violence is tearing apart families and society in general. What is disheartening is the fact that brutal acts of violence against women and children are taking place despite the fact that we have good laws on paper.
“Clearly in the current scenario where women and children are continually petrified and brutalised by violence and other forms of gender-based discrimination, sustainable development can never take place.
“That is why we have come up with the webinar so as to provide the perfect platform to unpack the reasons behind the spike in gender-based violence so that we can bring to an end this onslaught against women and children,” said ANZ commercial director Lewis Chikurunhe.
The ANZ spokesperson lauded the calibre of the panel for the webinar to be moderated by Shamwari Yemwanasikana founder Ekenia Chifamba.
“Given the fact that we are currently commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we felt obligated to come up with a very competent panel.
“We are very happy with the calibre of the panel. We are confident that they will come up with useful insights that will take the gender discourse a gear up,” Chikurunhe said.
The forthcoming webinar will take place against the backdrop of a spike in the violence against women and children in the country.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) recently revealed that between April and June this year, the ZRP Victim Friendly Unit recorded 4 153 domestic violence cases and 1 289 rape cases.
Rather alarmingly, statistics availed by Unicef show that a high proportion (43 percent) of adolescent girls in Zimbabwe, aged between 13-17 years reported that their first incident of sexual intercourse was unwanted and unplanned.
In a related development, the national GBV Hotline, run by Musasa recorded more than 6 800 GBV-related calls from the beginning of the lockdown on March 30, 2020 until the end of December 2020, which was over 40 percent higher than the pre-lockdown figures.