Gender-based violence an important women’s rights issue: Survey

Zimbabweans view gender-based violence as the most important women’s-rights issue that needs urgent attention by the government and other key stakeholders, a recent Afrobarometer survey has shown.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, survey research network that provides data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.

Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999 and Round 9 surveys (2021/2022) are currently underway.

The Afrobarometer team in Zimbabwe is led by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI).

According to the survey, whose findings were published yesterday, Zimbabweans feel physical force is never justified.

“Most citizens say it is never justified for men to use physical force to discipline their wives, a view that is shared across all key demographic groups and provinces,” says the report.

“In addition, most say gender-based violence is a criminal matter that requires the involvement of law enforcement authorities, rather than a personal affair that should be handled within the family.”

Among the research’s key findings

Key findings gender-based violence (GBV) tops the list as the most important women’s-rights issue that Zimbabweans want their government and society to address, followed by too few women in influential government positions and unequal rights of property ownership and inheritance.

“More than half (52%) of citizens say GBV is “somewhat common” (35%) or “very common” (17%) in homes or in the community,” says the report.

“More women (56%) than men (47%) hold this view. It is less widely shared by older respondents (40%), citizens with post-secondary education (45%), and those experiencing no or low lived poverty (43%).”

The report says more than six in 10 respondents (61%) say domestic violence is a criminal matter whose resolution requires the involvement of law enforcement agencies, compared to 37% who see it as a private matter that needs to be handled within the family.

“Nearly eight in 10 Zimbabweans (78%) say it is “never justified” for a man to use physical force to discipline his wife,” says the report.

“Women are more likely than men to say this behaviour is never justified (83% versus (73%), as are urbanites compared to rural residents (91% vs. 71%). Opposition to the use of physical force increases with respondents’ education level, ranging from 64% among those with primary schooling or less to 89% among those with postsecondary qualifications. Younger citizens (79%-80% of those aged 18-55 years) are more likely to see it as never justified than their older counterparts (70% of those over 55).”

The majority in all provinces according to the report say it is never justified for men to physically discipline their wives, ranging from 66% in Mashonaland East to 97% in Harare.

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