November 25 marked the beginning of The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, and at Divas Inc, we are standing in solidarity and support of our fellow women and survivors of Gender Based Violence with our #IstandwithHER Campaign. The campaign stands as a pledge of our allegiance to all the women and girl victims and survivors of Gender Based Violence, and to all the warriors (men and women), who are actively involved on the frontlines in the fight to end GBV.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, reports have shown an alarming increase in an already existing pandemic of violence against women. Increased levels of stress, job insecurities, loss of income and prolonged confinement have all given rise to an escalation in the incidents of Gender Based Violence across the globe. As countries implemented lockdown measures to stop the spread of the virus, violence against women, especially domestic violence, intensified – with calls to helplines in some countries, Zimbabwe included, increasing five-fold. In other countries however, formal reports of domestic violence have decreased as survivors find it harder to seek help and access support through the regular channels.
But even before COVID-19 hit, violence against women and girls had reached pandemic proportions. Globally, 243 million women and girls were abused by an intimate partner in the past year. Yet, disconcertingly, less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence report it or seek help. This, largely due to the reality of a world where speaking up is an option few women can afford to take, where women continue to be blamed for the violence they suffer, belittled and sexualized, and patronized and denied the ability to make their own decisions.
And this is why, we, together with some colleagues, friends and peers, are speaking out against the stigma, the judgement, the silencing, the gaslighting, the victim blaming and the shaming that women and girls continue to face; making it difficult for them to step up and speak out against their abusers and the abuse they suffer. Our message to the women and girls is this: You are NOT alone. We see you! We hear you! We believe you! We stand firmly with you! And when you are ready to speak up and share your story, we WILL listen… This fight is for all of us and together, we will win it!! #WeStandwithYOU #istandwithHER
My voice echoes the pain woman has to endure. My scars a constant reminder of the horrors she has faced. An attack on her leaves scars on our communities, an attack on her leaves scars on her children, an attack on her is an obstruction to progress!!#IStandWithHer
Edith WeUtonga: Creative Artist
The moment you fear your partner for whatsoever reason, know very well that something is gravely wrong. It does not only need to be physical for it to be considered violence. Even words can be extremely violent. Please reach out to someone for help.
Linda K Sibs(Independent Politician)
When we call for an end to violence everywhere, let’s remember that violence is not confined to politics or war. For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest – in their own homes. Women and girls experience violence from their partners, their fathers, and their brothers. GBV is not just an issue for women. We men are the perpetrators. We men are the bystanders. We men must stop GBV at its root.
Joe Ruzvidzo: Writer
Women and girls live in a pandemic of violence. We live in societies that have normalised the violence we face in different forms on a daily basis. Systems and structures in the form of “traditions” and “culture” make us feel guilty when we speak up. As though the violence perpetrated against us is our fault. No more. The violence must end.
It is not your fault. I believe you. #IStandWithHER
Christine “Chriss” Midzi: Sportscaster and Sports Marketing Professional
This year, the data says reported attacks on women and girls have risen. Many were trapped, locked down together with their abusers. Depressingly, we only know those whose cases have been reported. Many more suffer in silence.
What is our role as men? Firstly, it is to stop our violence on women. We must also stop protecting those of our friends and colleagues who abuse women. We are to listen more, respond, and to learn.
Ranga Mberi: Journalist and Writer
I stand with HER
SHE is the heartbeat of all nations
SHE is the GIVER of life
When you abuse HER, when you violate HER
You are crippling the very source of life
Real men stand with HER
WE all ought to stand with HER
I stand firmly with HER
Langa Sibanda Lloyd: Miss Universe 1996, Founder – House of Langa
#iStandWithHER because every woman’s story may be different…but no matter who or where we are, we all deserve and need to feel safe in our homes and our communities.
#iStandWithHER because She NEEDS us to stand with her, as she, in turn, will one day stand with another.
As long as the injustices continue to destroy lives, as long as there is even one woman with tears running down her face because of the abuse she is going through #iStandWithHER.
Rudo Chakanyuka: Artist, Filmmaker
Gender Based Violence disempowers, disenfranchises and destroys. Unfortunately as the world struggles to deal with the covid 19 pandemic, reported cases of GBV have been on the rise. There is no justification or cause for it. Violence and abuse have never solved anything. Real power lies in dialogue. #EndGBVnow
Chad Mhako: Entrepreneur
As we celebrate 16 days of Activism Against Gender based violence, I stand in solidarity with, and applaud the efforts of Zimbabwean men and women who everyday step up to fight against gender based violence.By their drive and determination, barriers are being broken to advocate the protection of women’s rights.To all women, you are so pure and true. You go beyond your limit in this life and you sacrifice so much for that one smile, even when you are in pain and blue.
You are special all the way and you are appreciated
Liz Dziva: PR & Publicity Manager MultiChoice Zimbabwe
Many women still suffer and are exposed to Gender Based Violence in our communities. It is wrong for excuses to be made from a socio-cultural perspective. Women need safe spaces to speak and be heard. It is important for our attitudes to change and remove the stigma, shame and loss of dignity that comes with Gender Based Violence! We need a world that hears the calls of activists, victims and survivors! We need communities that work towards addressing Gender Based Violence today and change a woman’s tomorrow!
Nikki Ndoro: Media Practitioner
Today I stand with women. I stand with every woman that has ever been told that her way of dressing invited violence. Every woman sexualised against her will. Every woman denied the right to her own voice. I stand with every single one of them against this patriarchal system. #IStandWithHer
The time is now to support and empower survivors. Time to spark a conversation in the home, community, nation and the world at large. Why must I fear being 1 in every 3 women falling victim to sexual violence before I reach 18. My dignity stripped, my smile lost, my innocence stolen. Why should I keep asking WHY or will it ever STOP? The trauma and pain and broken dreams. Enough is enough and that is why I am standing in solidarity and support of our fellow Women and survivors of Gender Based Violence. Even though this fight may be twice or thrice as hard with the COVID19 pandemic, our messages should bring hope that we stand firmly in solidarity with them and they are not alone in this fight! The world can not continue to blame women for the violence they suffer. Ask yourself, is this the world we want for our daughters today or tomorrow? NO! This is why my voice matters and why my platform as a broadcast journalist will continue to fight the stigma, judgement, silencing and shaming of women and girls.
As I listen to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” ,I know we ALL need to start right now and say ,I’ll be strong, cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me to lend my voice and to speak up in solidarity, strength and support to our fellow women and affirm that we are in this fight to end Gender Based Violence together, and that TOGETHER, we will WIN this fight. My voice matters and so does YOURS.. Let us make a difference… #IStandWithHER
Monika Chanda: Broadcast Journalist
#IStandWithHer because she is my colleague.. she is me
#IStandWithHer because if my very life ever depended on her one day, I want her to be at her very best..
#IStandWithHer because if she is safe, our patients are safe..
Dr Suleiman Makore (“Doc Suli”)
Stop getting hurt in the name of love,
Stop emotional abuse in the name of tradition,
Stop forcing your daughter to stay in an abusive relationship in the name of looking good to society,
Let’s normalise this instead:
It’s OK to leave when the love is gone.
It’s OK to report that he hit you,
Physical, financial and emotional abuse are all equally damaging to the well being of a woman.
Most importantly let’s be our daughter’s, sister’s and friend’s keepers.
GBV stops when we all stop normalizing abuse. Let’s call it what it really is, the indentation of cracks on a woman’s soul and worth, while we watch and hope a man will grow out of it, will be begged out of it, will come to his senses while a woman bears the brunt of keeping it all together, to impress people who themselves don’t have it all together. When uncles, aunts, mothers and fathers are called on when GBV occurs,may they rise and be the voices where it stops. The “Zvinowanikwa mudzimba” narrative must change from “Shinga” to “Zvinowanikwa mudzimba mufaro”
Plaxedes Wenyika – Creative
Below are some important links, contact details and useful resources if you, or someone you know, is experiencing Gender Based Violence…
Below are the toll-free lines that Gender Based Violence Survivors can call:
Musasa Project: 08080074 WhatsApp and SMS 0775442300
Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA): 08080131
Adult Rape Clinic: 0775 672 770
In the event that you do not have airtime, you can send a call me back and a counsellor will get back as soon as possible.
“Privacy of survivors will be respected at all times while accessing the hotline support.”