|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|One in five women abused in Zimbabwe: study|
|www.chinaview.cn 2004-09-26 16:11:12|
HARARE, Sept. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Violence against women, which includes emotional abuse, physical and sexual violence, is on the increase in Zimbabwe with one in every five women aged 15 to 29 years having experienced with an intimate partner, according to the Sunday Mail.
The report said that a recent study has found "higher levels offorced sexual intercourse," indicating an increase in sexual abuse of women and girls. This form of violence against women has been described by researchers as "lethal" in the context of HIV/AIDS.
The study has shown that women who experience domestic violenceare at greatest risk of HIV infection due to their lack of power to negotiate safer sex.
However, gender-based violence has often been understood as a domestic problem rather than being both a public and development concern.
According to the Zimbabwe Country Report on Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, ample evidence suggests that domesticviolence is so normalized in Zimbabwe and the rest of the southern African region that women themselves believe that wife beating and coerced sex is accepted as a natural consequence of bad behavior.
Communities often did not consider a person an abuser if the sexual abuse resulted in pregnancy and the abuser accepted responsibility.
The Zimbabwean law recognizes marital rape as a criminal offense but most spouses are silenced by traditional values which restrict them from seeking legal action against their spouses.
In 2001, the Zimbabwean government enacted the sexual Offenses Act to protect women and girls from rape, including marital rape and other forms of sexual abuse.
The Domestic Violence Bill, which proposes to provide protection and relief to survivors of domestic violence, has been pending for some time, raising concern by many women over the delay by Zimbabwe's parliament. Enditem