Sexual and gender based violence in Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, levels of Gender Based Violence remain a concern and a major barrier to women's active participation in development. Despite the enactment of several gender responsive laws and policies, such as the Domestic Violence Act of 2007, women and girls in Zimbabwe, continue to be the victims in 99% of GBV cases especially within the private sphere. According to the ZDHS 2010- 2011, 42% of women in Zimbabwe have either experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence (or both) at some point in their lives. The National Gender Based Violence (GBV) Strategy 2012- 2015 sought to improve the efforts of Government, civil society and donors to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The Goal of this GBV Strategy is to reduce all forms of gender-based violence in Zimbabwe by 20 percent by 2015. While the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey of 2010-11 showed that the percentage of women who experienced physical violence since age 15 was 30% (a reduction of 6% from the 2005-06 ZDHS), the target that has been set for this Strategy should be achievable in view of the renewed commitment and focused strategies to be deployed.
According to statistics published by ZIMSTAT Third Quarterly Digest of 2015 under crime reports, 5588 (including attempts) cases of rape were reported in the country between January 2015 and September 2015, with 7 551 similar cases in 2014. Such figures only reflect the cases which were reported yet many go untold. Despite such figures which reflect thousands of vulnerable people, they are very few centres which support survivors. The Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat) in April 2016 reported: ‘At least 21 women are raped daily in Zimbabwe, translating to one woman being sexually abused every 75 minutes. The data shows a 42 percent increase in rape cases over the past six years, a trend that is worrying gender activists. According to the ZimStat’s quarterly digest of statistics for the fourth quarter of 2015, an average of 646 women were sexually abused monthly last year. A total of 7,752 cases of rape were recorded last year up from 7,551 cases that were reported the previous year.
The ‘Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey 2015’, published in November 2016, stated:
‘ - Emotional violence: Thirty-two percent of ever-married women have experienced spousal emotional violence;
- 24 percent experienced spousal emotional violence in the 12 months preceding the survey.
- Violence during pregnancy: Six percent of women who have ever been pregnant experienced violence during one or more of their pregnancies.
- Spousal violence: Overall, 35 percent of ever-married women age 15-49 experienced physical or sexual violence from a spouse, and of these women, 37 percent reported experiencing physical injuries.
The Social Institutions and Gender Index stated: ‘The Domestic Violence Act of 2007 prohibits domestic violence. The definition of domestic violence under the Act is very wide and includes abuse derived from any cultural or customary rites or practices that discriminate against or degrade women, such as forced virginity testing, female genital mutilation; malicious damage to property; forcible entry into the complainant's residence where the parties do not share the same residence; depriving the complainant of or hindering the complainant from access to or a reasonable share of the use of the facilities associated with the complainant's place of residence; the unreasonable disposal of household effects or other property in which the complainant has an interest; abuse derived from the following cultural or customary rites or practices that discriminate against or degrade women pledging of women and girls for purposes of appeasing spirits, abduction, etc.
Find organizations that support SGBV victims below.