Examine Causes of Gender Based Violence Amongst Couples in Zimbabwe and in Your Answer Suggest the Measures to Address This Problem
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Great Zimbabwe University
Faculty of Social Sciences
Name: Nathan
Surname: Gwese
Reg Number: M156262
Email Address: [email protected]
Program: BSc Hons Sociology
Course Title: Soc of Family
Course Code: HSOC 211
Lecturer: Mr Chivige
Question: Examine causes of gender based violence amongst couples in Zimbabwe and in your answer suggest the measures to address this problem.
This essay’s main emphasis is on outlining factors which cause Gender Based Violence among couples in Zimbabwe as well as outlining reforms and measures taken to fight against Gender Based Violence. United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defined GBV as “any act of violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” On the other hand IASC (2005) proposed a different definition of GBV as they stated it as “any harmful act that is perpetrated against a persons will and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females.” Thus GBV points out to many dimensions within which violence occur and mainly in Zimbabwe it has particularly shown that women are much more vulnerable to GBV. GBV is as a result of many factors such as financial dependence on male spouse, certain cultural and religious beliefs which strengthen male dominance and subjugation of women, lobola among others. Most of these occur at different forms such as verbal, physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse which these cause trauma of abuse or at some stages it can cause mental illnesses or paralysis. However despite the rise in GBV cases in Zimbabwe many private organizations have come into play as well as restricting laws which protect both males and females from GBV. Thus this essay expands further in highlighting the significant analysis to give justice to the question.

To start with, GBV among couples in Zimbabwe has been as a result of lobola payments which is one of the major cultural factors which cause GBV. According to Matope et.al (2013) is of the view that “the payment of lobola is a gendered constructs which constrain both the men financially and the woman by stripping her off her human rights.” This is supported with the fact that modern lobola systems has been entitled with huge amounts of money which is paid to the father of the bride as compared to the traditional ways whereby lobola payments were through reasonable materials such as cattle etc. Therefore women entering into marriages have been mostly under many forms of domestic violence due to the commercialization of lobola. This is for the fact that women continue to be vulnerable to GBV because of their differential status from birth to death which is compounded by lobola. Another spectacular view is the one by Bryson (2003) states that, “the Marxist feminist scholars would contend that marriage itself is a property relation in a class based society and the family is viewed as an element of the super structure and apparatus of the state.” This is because the Zimbabwean women have been disempowered from their rights to refuse any social marital injustice since in the house they are regarded as an object rather than a human. Also it is also been noted to the fact that most of these women cannot refute to leave their marriages because the family to which they were married to would have to seek for compensation thus leaving them in more dangers of GBV.

In addition to the lobola system as a major cause in Zimbabwe’s escalating GBV among societies as it have perpetuated issues of violation of sexual rights and extra marital affairs by their husbands. The bridal prices constitute for conjugal rights of a man to his wife, thus a woman has no obligation to refuse for such demands. The occurrence of GBV through such issues has been tremendously devastating especially to the sexual rights of women especially when they require protected sex from their promiscuous men. Hartmann, (1981) supports this view when he stated that ‘in an African context males’ instrumental role therefore includes paying lobola which in a way perpetuates males’ control over the women’s labour especially in social reproduction and other domestic duties.” On the other hand on a conflict perspective the enforcement of lobola system by the male make them exercise more power and authority over the women hence reinforcing the gender inequalities. With the more frequency occurrence of GBV among couples in Zimbabwe the State itself has declared a way to protect women of their civil rights and on that note there was the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act 2007. Many cases have gone unreported because of cultural and traditional practices such as the payment of lobola, henceforth there was a need to gather all cultural laws or resort to the traditional leaders in a manner to mitigate such challenges. The law which was further produced was rather tom enact women to get legal recourse but not merant to destroy the marriage institution in which by culture it is formed by the pre stages of the payment of lobola. Thus the Domestic Violence Act has made domestic violence to be a criminal and public act that is punishable by law.

In addition to the above, financial dependence of women to their husbands has been one of the major toots to the occurrence of GBV among couples in Zimbabwe. Mukananga (2014) stated that “employment status of a woman have a correlation with physical abuse.” In additional to study carried out by Mukananga he had a statistical data from a unnamed police officer which stated that “The majority of the physically abused women are married according to the police records. They constitute more than 50% of all the reports of GBV that we receive from 2006 to date.” In this case GBV is as a result of men who blame their wives of being too lazy to work in support of the family. Patterning to impending difficulties of the Zimbabwean economy most men mainly find it difficult to raise the family on their own without

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