Category Archives: Global Records-Violence Against Women and Girls

Malawi and Africa -How shameful we left “hyenas” destroy girls

Erica Aniva who is HIV positive  raped little girls and was paid to do so in order to fulfil cleansing rites.  Read  full story here BBC Story on a man who raped girls to cleanse himself

Photo credit BBC News

Now that the  beast Erica Aniva is arrested, whither to with little girls so wronged?  What would have happened if BBC had not exposed this? Are we saying Malawi fears to offend culture more than ensuring the lives of children at risk? There are questions to be answered. Malawi government, parents and all who claim to stand for children in the country should take full responsibility.

Each time an update of BBC documentary on a man known as hyena comes to my inbox or am tagged by a friend  I try to cover my head from from emotional and imagined physical punches. I keep visualising the destruction of  little girls. I see the whole scene when they stand pleading for mercy with no one paying attention.

I recall the documentary I was featured called Tapestries of Hope which featured similar stories where men rape girls because of the virgin myth that HIV and AIDS is cured by having sex with a virgin girl. It is not ignorance because most people know there are HIV and AIDS drugs. The myth is deep seated and it perpetuate violence against women which must be challenged now.

Zimbabwe`s vulnerable girls want peace

Well he is finally arrested. Most probably as loyalty to the world, Malawi government will jail him. But are they sure they will jail the harmful cultural practices. There are millions of girls violated by over 30 harmful cultural practices in Africa. Arresting one and not crushing all of them at once does not help. Malawi like all African countries refused to make law the AU Protocol on women and girls rights that outlaws such harmful cultural practices. There is urgent need for laws protecting children in Africa. There is urgent need for funding and support to go to children trapped in such harmful cultural practices. They will not exist unless government takes urgent their plight. There are no children`s services in Africa. The girls could have escaped and got help. But there is nowhere to turn to.

 

Abuse and Violence against Women Online-Take part and speak out

Women in the Zimbabwean Community in UK have endured the worst violence online. There is a syndicate set up under guise of human rights defender to violate them. Police has not been helpful and acts of harassments and mental torture have become worse. They are all encouraged to use this survey and platform to speak out. There are dangers some of them will commit suicide. Reports submitted to Muzvare Betty Makoni on violence they are subjected to online are many.

For more information, contact Anri van der Spuy (avanderspuy@unog.ch).

Take part in the survey and have your say http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/documents/best-practice-forums/484-call-for-input-help-us-counter-the-online-abuse-of-women/filehttp://www.intgovforum.org/cms/documents/best-practice-forums/484-call-for-input-help-us-counter-the-online-abuse-of-women/file

Call for Participation: IGF Best Practice Forum
Defining Practices to Counter the Abuse of Women Online

Introducing the Best Practices Forum on Practices to Countering the Abuse of Women Online

“More inquiry is needed about the use of technology, such as computers and cell phones, in developing and expanding forms of violence. Evolving and emerging forms of violence need to be named so that they can be recognized and better addressed.”
– UN Secretary General, in-depth study on all forms of violence against women (2006)[1]

Great strides have been made to improve connectivity and internet access around the world, which have resulted in increased opportunities for advancing rights and interests of different sections in society, including for women. However, at the same time, increased access has also resulted in the use of technology to perpetrate acts of violence against women (VAW).

Online VAW has increasingly become part of women’s experience of violence and their online interactions, encompassing acts of gender-based violence that are committed, abetted or aggravated, in part or fully, by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as phones, the internet, social media platforms, and email. Examples of online VAW include (but are not limited to) online harassment, cyberstalking, misogynistic speech, privacy invasions with the threat of blackmail, viral ‘rape videos’ that force survivors to relive the trauma of sexual assault, and the non-consensual distribution of ‘sex videos’.

Violence against women and girls online limits their ability to take advantage of the opportunities that ICTs provide for the full realisation of women’s human rights, and also often violate women’s human rights. Over the past six years, there has been increasing attention paid to understanding the nature, harm and consequences of violence against women online by the media, governments and women’s movements. This is evidenced in the formal recognition of violence against women online in significant women’s rights policy spaces and the focus on secure online practices for women and women human rights defenders. However, this concern has arguably not been adequately taken up by various stakeholders within the Internet governance ecosystem. There is still a significant lack of awareness regarding what kinds of online conduct constitute abusive and violent behaviour and the variety of actions that can be taken to address and prevent such behaviour in the future.

Taking efficient and effective action to countering the growing phenomena of online VAW is not only important in ensuring that the Internet fulfils its potential as a positive driver for change and development, but also in helping to construct a safe and secure environment for women and girls in every sphere of life. Due to the nature of the Internet as a distributed network of networks, addressing online VAW requires considerable input and cooperation from a multitude of stakeholders, including the technical community, private sector, civil society advocates and organizations, governments, international organizations, academic community, users, and young people.

To help address this challenge, this Internet Governance Forum (IGF) initiative is bringing together multiple stakeholders from diverse communities to investigate the types of conduct online that potentially constitute abuse of women, the underlying factors that contribute to enabling environments for abuse, the impact that such abuse has in communities, other related contentious issues, and the solutions, responses and/or strategies that constitute good and/or best practices for countering the abuse of women online.

Zimbabwe Touts made the whole world angry-My testimony

I woke up to my phone making endless sounds showing messages were going in at one minute intervals. Everyone who put a message in my whatsup was very angry. People were desperate for anyone they knew worked for women to just say something because action to protect women is often delayed and then denied. Men were very angry and these were good men. They wanted the Kombi rank touts and thugs punished. The men especially from Zimbabwe who live in South Africa expressed anger. Then I knew I had to watch the videos posted in my whatsup. I opened and saw over 20 video messages. Ogh my God, the woman was being stripped naked and they were shouting hure meaning prostitute and loose woman. The men doing this to her were identifiable.

All I wanted to know was whether the woman would survive. One good man came to her rescue during this physical harassment. Just one man who was kind came to her rescue  and we insist we know him so that we thank him for saving a life.

Of course this is not an isolated incident. I hear that two or so women were harassed the same way in the same week in Zimbabwe.Kenya too had similar incidents where men judge the length of your dress or skirt and decide to punish you for wearing mini skirts. What mini brains they have!!!

So now the big search is on the young woman to come to Zimbabwe Republic Police and press charges. It looks as if she is too traumatised to come out.  By the time this article was posted no one had confirmed this sister had come forward.Mind you, there is fear amongst the women from this background that if you go to police as a victim you may end up being blamed. The violations against their bodies take place daily whether they are in so called long or short dresses. Any woman can get beaten for whatever reason justified by some men. I think right now she is afraid to press charges after she was castigated by these touts  in public.

Zimbabwean problems and challenges politically and economically are quite complex. This mob of touts is a grouping of men who operate under guise of so called Kombi touts but to someone with a sharp eye these are unemployed men made powerless by the current harsh economic situation. They come from all over the country and most of them maybe involved in drug abuse. They are feared and they have terrorized many. They have been banned, re banned and re banned and banned again and again  and this shows they are unwanted in society, but they mushroom at different taxi ranks doing same works of terror.

Their easiest targets are women and girls. They hit targets on certain days and even demand sex for being set free. They survive on committing abuse on whoever they feel is weak.This one particular sister who got the world crying is but one of them. There are many young girls who get trafficked.

My question is whither to Zimbabwe? The answer is very simple. Lets deal with root causes rather than being hypocritical. The economic situation has to improve and good industries absorb all these young men and women lying idle. An idle mind is a dangerous mind. I am hoping though short term solution is to arrest the touts but long term solution is to ensure the economic situation improves. This is a signal that society is now rotten. Chinua Achebe is right when he asserts that Things Fall Apart.

Then for women`s movements who met and spoke against the harassment of our sister in Zimbabwe, I feel it is time all those hotel donor funded workshops stop. Here in UK no donor gives money for that at all. Funding goes to the service user. You need drop in centers for women and you also need to train women like her in community work that would empower her and other women to protect themselves. The women`s movement in Zimbabwe is very elitist-it is not known by those who need it most. How come this sister of ours does  not even know whether you exist to support her and she could have come to one of the organisations for women for support rather than going into hiding.

More work needs to be done in places of economic instability like Zimbabwe. Making press statements without this woman is hypocritical. Nothing without her is for her remains the truth.  That said, I appeal to anyone helping Zimbabwe to support drop in centers for women who suffer violence. I don’t care where funding goes to  but what  is key is to minimize elitist press meetings  when such life threatening events happen and start focusing on real support women need. We see such support here in UK where most of the funding comes from. The money goes to support services in counseling, housing, income generation and legal aid for  women like the  one who fell victim to the touts.

Muzvare Betty Makoni is former Chair of the Women`s Coalition in Zimbabwe -2005 to 2007