Beyond the Shadows: The Reality of Physical and Sexual Violence Against Women in Zimbabwe.

From November 25: The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Zimbabwe is recording an increase in domestic violence and gender-based violence (GBV). The most common form of violence that women experience in the country are sexual violence, intimate partner violence and child marriage.

According to Musasa, an NGO working to empower women and girl survivors of domestic violence and abuse said in 2019 it assisted 32,707 survivors of gender-based violence. In 2020, the number shot to 40,536. In 2022, it has recorded 39,827 cases of gender-based violence.

The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) reveals that 33% of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence, while approximately 25% have experienced sexual violence since age 15.

As 16 days of activism against gender-based violence begin, the campaign takes place from November 25 (International day of No Violence Against Women) to December 10 (international Human Rights Day), Vimbainashe Mutendereki, executive director at Musasa said there has been a rise in GBV cases in the country.

“Women and girls who come to Musasa have experienced various forms of violence – physical, sexual, emotional or economic violence all bring survivors to Musasa to receive services. Musasa has been assisting close to 40,000 women every year through our direct services, which include counselling, shelter, toll free call centre, legal services, health services and others,” said Mutendereki.

“Women with disabilities are at a heightened risk of violence, during humanitarian crises like floods or droughts again women have increased vulnerability. Young women are also at a heightened risk of violence,” she said.

According to NGO, the number of violence against women, cases in Zimbabwe, is still increasing.

In Zimbabwe, 40 percent of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical and sexual violence perpetrated by an intimate partners, including 19 percent who suffered such violence during the previous 12 months, according to a report Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

In March 2022, authorities arrested a 30-year-old man for raping and brutally murdering ten women in Marondera, Mashonaland East Province.

Child marriage is also prevalent in Zimbabwe, one in 3 girls in the country is married before the age of 18.