faith in action

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Around the World: Zimbabwe

Tendai Rebecca Gurupira of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area shares her advocacy against gender-based violence.

In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Rev. Neal Christie, the Assistant General Secretary for Education and Leadership Formation, interviewed advocates against domestic and gender-based violence from around the world.

This is the second in a series of articles this month highlighting the work United Methodists across the globe are doing to end domestic violence.

Zimbabwe: Tendai Rebecca Gurupira

Tendai Rebecca Gurupira serves as the Coordinator Ministry with Women, Children and Youth for the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area.

She explained, “There is no month set aside in Zimbabwe for domestic violence or gender-based violence awareness. In fact, October is a breast cancer awareness month and we pay attention to this as a Church. As a country we observe sixteen days of activism from November to December each year.”

The Zimbabwe Episcopal Area sponsors more than thirty Mission Schools. Each school includes awareness on teen dating violence and ending child marriages, which continues to impact most girls and boys. Students also sponsor clubs to grow awareness of gender-based violence.

Tendai said, “Workshops involve men because we know that as women alone, we cannot solve this problem. We rely on men as facilitators to help other men not to look down on women, and to name their rights and the importance of ensuring their dignity.”

“We also rely on women to facilitate because we note that men who are abused by women will not speak out because of fear that people will laugh at them so they suffer in silence,” she added.

“Still there are obstacles because of our culture which sees the man as the head of all the things and women who follow behind,” Tendai said. “Another problem we note is that some women in higher positions want the men to feel they are on top and end up abusing men.”

The Zimbabwe Constitution includes the Domestic Violence Act, which helps support the work we do. While Zimbabwe has these laws, but sometimes the laws are not enforced as in the case of the Ending Child Marriage Act.

“Impoverished young girls are forced to marry at an early age be because their families cannot afford the school fees so they marry and are given food, cattle and other basic necessities,” Tendai said.

“To them, a girl child is an income-generating project. Nothing is done to the parents or to those men who marry these innocent young girls,” she said. “Awareness and advocacy is still needed regarding the Ending Child Marriages legislation.”

For more photos of recent trainings that address domestic violence in Zimbabwe, view a photo album on Facebook.