By Romeo Takundwa
GOVERNMENT has been urged to speed up the process of enacting a comprehensive law that criminalizes sexual harassment at all level.
This was said by Female Students Network (FSN) a civil society organization which advocates for empowerment of tertiary female students over the weekend.
In a press statement to mark 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV), the membership based civil society organization which works with forty-three institutions across Zimbabwe bemoaned the increasing number of GBV cases as a result of Covid 19 and its adverse effects on the girl child.
“Gender based violence has become the ever-growing cancer in Zimbabwean destroying the lives of young girls, women and mothers at all levels. The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the situation with over 65% increase in the recorded cases of GBV. Statistics are that, 1 in 3 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence and about 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
FSN also lamented on the justice delivery system on issues involving perpetrators of GBV citing an example of Anna Machaya minor who died whilst giving birth at an apostolic shrine in Marange.
“AS FSNT we are deeply concerned about the fatalities being recorded from incidents of GBV such as the death of Anna Machaya who died due to complications sustained while giving birth at a shrine in Marange showing the grave effects of child marriages as a form of GBV. The perpetrators of Machaya’s case have been granted bail which might deter the efforts being made to combat early child marriages.
FSN therefore called on government to tighten screws on the laws that deals with child marriages and impose stiffer penalties to the perpetrators of child marriages
The civil society organisation which won the UNESCO prize winners for Girls and Women’s Education in 2016 joined the rest of the world in celebrating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
The annual international celebrations for the elimination of violence against women, held from 25 November to 10 December saw this year’s celebrations being held under the theme “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”.