By Romeo Takundwa
Musasa Project in Mashonaland Central Province has identified Mazowe District as an emerging gender-based violence (GBV) hotspot in the province.
This was revealed during a recent awareness campaign by Musasa Project in partnership with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Economic Development.
Mazowe district recorded a total of 57 cases of GBV in June and July this year.
Speaking to this reporter, the administrator of Dambatsoka shelter which assists and houses survivors of GBV, Shalom Vinyu attributed the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions as a contributing factor as most couples are confined at home for longer periods.
“We have observed that during the lockdown we experienced a proliferation of GBV and sexual abuse cases. There are various factors influencing the rise of cases including the emergence of small-scale mining activities and internal migration.
“GBV is now rampant in Mazowe District with the use of dangerous weapons by small scale miners as they move from place to place in search of minerals. Young girls in the district continue to be victims of such abuses,” said Vinyu.
She added that her organization in partnership with the Ministry of Women Affairs Gender and Economic Development they have managed to reach out to more women in outlying areas in the district including Bare, Glendale, Concession, Nzvimbo and Dambatsoka since the onset of the lockdown.
“I cannot reveal the statistics off head, but l can confirm that since the onset of the lockdown, we have attended to GBV victims from Mazowe District and the figures have continue to rise. We work with the Ministry of Women Affairs, legal and health service providers to make sure that all survivors of abuse receive all the necessary support.
“As of now we have 23 victims under our care and 17 of them are below the age of 18,” she said.
During the awareness campaign, Bare, Nzvimbo and Concession were said to be conservative communities which covered up sexual abuse cases and child marriages which were recorded in large numbers.