The continued rise of gender based violence cases in Zimbabwe has created a need for diverse strategies that can assist in combating this disease that has engulfed our society. It is really frightening how people are losing lives and their livelihoods as a result of violence in the homes and communities. Of late, there has been a worrying trend where women who are wearing miniskirts have become easy targets for touts in Harare. Many women, girls and boys are being violated physically, sexually and emotionally i their homes and communities on a daily basis. The government f Zimbabwe must be commented for coming up with laws that seek to deal with cases of gender based violence. However, a lot needs to be done in terms of implementation of the law as well as building general awareness of these laws among citizens. in the absence of awareness, people continue to violate and be violated willy nilly.
Savanna Trust with the support of the culture fund and the Swedish Embassy has come up with a seven-episode radio drama project that is seeks to raise awareness and dialogue on issues of Gender based violence. The radio programme consists of a 15 minute drama, live phone inns and WhatsApp and panel discussions. for the discussions, Savanna Trust invites representatives of organisations working on issues of gender and women’s rights. Representatives from Padare Enkundleni Men’s forum and Musasa Project have graced the programme. To date two episodes have been aired on StarFM and the response has been overwhelming prompting a need for more episodes.
Savanna Trustengaged 3 professional writers who came up with the scripts that tackle different gender violence issues. One of the episodes deals with the issue of a young girl who is sexually abused by an uncle and her grandmother stops the matter from being reported to the police. Such issues are prevalent within the Zimbabwean society as many close relatives are abusing young girls and getting away with it. This episode clearly articulates how the culture of silence should be broken as it is detrimental to the victim i.e. she never gets restitution.
Another important issue articulated in the first episode is that of economic emancipation. It can be seen that a lot of women are largely dependent on their partners for their upkeep thus they end up being victims of abuse and because they are financially dependent they cannot leave and or report. The need for women to be independent i.e. to have their own sources of income thus dispensing the need for a man to constantly fund their upkeep whilst he batters them.
This radio drama to date has managed to attract so much attention from the Star FM listeners, judging by the comments and phone calls that are coming from the listeners during and after the airing of the drama. The programme has, in an entertaining and engaging way, enabled citizens to be part of the solution mapping of how this scourge can be dealt with. The programme has also brought the nation to a realisation that people are suffering in silence in the homes and communities as they dont know how to deal with issues of violations. In one of the episodes, a lady WhatsApped that she was raped when she was still in primary school but had noone to tell. This programme become her avenue of speaking out.
It is hoped that this programme will grow beyond the 7 pilot episodes so that the issues of gender violence, some of which are very complex can continue to be discussed.
As of now, Savanna Trust encourages everyone to listen in on StarFM every Wednesday at 8PM sharp, as we are Breaking The Chains of gender based violence.