Traditional and Religious Leaders Indaba
March 27, 2018
Traditional and Religious Leaders Indaba was a platform for leaders to discuss GBV issues that affect areas of their jurisdiction. The event was held at Mazowe Rural District Council Tsungubvi Board Room on the 16th March 2018. The indaba sought to sensitize stakeholders, traditional and religious leaders on the need to review retrogressive social norms and practices that precipitate GBV in Mazowe District with the aim of gaining lasting commitments from the leaders in the fight to reduce GBV incidences.
The patriarchal society that exists in African tradition which emphasizes the superiority of the male over the female was identified as a major cause to why some men resort to physical violence when they feel belittled by their female counterparts. More so it has also been seen that some females due to their socialization tend to absorb and normalize abusive relationships.
It was noted that most GBV cases that stem in marital homes are a result of troubled sexual relationships which is made more difficult to resolve in African society as such issues are usually not said in the open. Sexual violence usually emanates from the man demanding sexual intercourse from her wife arguing his entitlement because he has paid a bride price or a wife refusing sexual intercourse with his husband because of a long tiresome day or fear of contracting sexually transmitted diseases when she doubts the fidelity of the man. What starts as sexual violence ends up incorporating emotional violence when the couples argue, physical violence when another partner resorts to physical assault to express his or her views and economical abuse were the breadwinner can withhold funds to his or her partner in protest over the treatment he or she would be receiving.
Patriarchy was also identified in the religious circles as it was highlighted that the Bible advocated for the superiority of the man over the woman leading to the abuse of women in religious institutions Polygamy and wife inheritance were highlighted as retrogressive traditional norms that perpetrated deep emotional violence to women who were being disadvantaged by their own traditions and social norms
Whilst exploring gender roles in African society and their contribution to GBV it was noted that women as compared to men in both urban and rural settings did most of the work compared to men hence gender roles were contributing gender based violence through the overburdening and overworking of women which leads to emotional, physical and sexual violence
Traditional leaders and religious leaders were encouraged to be advocacy champions in the dissemination of GBV information and referrals whilst leading exemplary and disciplined lives