The Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) joins the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based violence (GBV).
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is a period when individuals and groups around the world strengthen calls for the elimination of all forms of gender based violence (GBV) through different targeted activities.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence also facilitates an environment in which stakeholders can more openly discuss and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies on ending GBV.
The campaign has been used to strengthen and demonstrate solidarity for women around the world who account for the largest number of victims of GBV.
GBV is described as “any act of violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
GBV is a serious problem in Zambia. Statistics released by the Zambia Police continue to show that GBV is on the rise despite the public’s increased awareness of it and the enactment of laws such as the Anti-GBV Act of 2011, which was formulated to protect the victims and punish offenders. Police records suggest that cases of the physical type of GBV such as unlawful wounding, Assault (OABH), defilement and murder are on the rise.
In 2019, the Zambia Police recorded increases in reported cases of GBV in the second and third quarter. During the third quarter of 2019, a total of 6,788 cases of GBV were reported countrywide compared to 6,114 recorded in the third quarter of 2018 which translates into a 9.9 percent increase. In the second quarter of 2019, 6,139 cases of GBV were reported to the Zambia Police Service, representing a 6 percent increase from the first quarter.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence for 2019 is being commemorated under the theme “Raising an equality conscious generation against gender based violence.” The theme focuses on the need to prioritize and scale-up efforts of raising consciousness about the equality of women and men as a way of dealing with the problem of GBV.
Most GBV incidences occur as a result of inequitable cultural norms that have created unbalanced power relations between men and women.
Therefore, raising an equality conscious generation that will act against GBV should begin by discouraging discriminatory norms which enable GBV to take place. There is need to promote values of gender equality especially in the young people whose belief systems are still being developed. However, it must be noted that children and adolescents learn more from the actions of adults than their words. There is need therefore to adopt principals of equality and consistently apply them.
Raising an equality conscious generation against GBV means making the conscious decision not to leave anyone behind. Women, men, the youth, children, victims and perpetrators must all have a role to play in the fight against GBV.
It is possible to raise a generation that will dislike GBV and other discriminatory practices, through continuous engagement and sensitization of all stakeholders.
The ZNWL has been implementing activities aimed at ending GBV, because the vice is a violation of human rights, a public health concern and an obstacle to gender equality and peace. With support from cooperating partners, ZNWL has been engaging men, women, boys and girls to stop the unnecessary loss of life and injury caused through GBV. Interventions have included trainings and discussions with men and women on the role of drug and alcohol abuse in fueling GBV. ZNWL has also engaged traditional and religious leaders and marriage counsellors on their role in ending GBV.
As we commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, we implore each individual to identify what role they can play in the fight against GBV. It can be as simple as creating awareness about GBV in their own home, local school or church. Citizens are also advised to be vigilant and report to the police, cases or suspected cases of GBV and also help survivors seek professional help. The ZNWL salutes all the gender champions and citizens who are already working towards raising an equality conscious generation that will act against GBV. We implore everyone to join in the campaign and advocate for zero tolerance to GBV in all spaces during this 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
Ms. Beauty Katebe
National Board Chairperson