Every year, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is observed internationally, and this year is no exception. The campaign began on November 25th and will run until December 10th. However, the SADC area has recently seen an increase in incidences of gender-based violence during this campaign.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) campaign celebrated its 31st anniversary the week of Thanksgiving. The Women's Global Leadership Institute launched the initiative as a way to address human rights issues around the world.
Every year, from 25 November to 10 December, people are encouraged by the United Nations to come together, raise awareness of gender-based violence, confront prejudice, and push for better laws and services that will end violence against women and children globally. However, the GBV statistics continue to get higher.
Data from the South African Police Service (SAPS) indicates that rape and sexual offenses in South Africa have grown by 13% between 2017-2018 and 2021-2022, while there was a 46% increase in the murder of children and a 52% increase in the murder of women during the first quarters of 2021 and 2022, respectively according to an article in the Women and Home magazine.
According to an article reported by, ministers are concerned about the high occurrences of GBV in the SADC area. The SADC Regional Strategy and Framework of Action for Addressing GBV, a combination of efforts to advance gender equality and foster peace and security, was urged upon Member States to improve GBV data collection.
The alarming increase in gender-based violence cases that is being reported time and again, therefore, creates doubts about the effectiveness of the Sixteen days of Activism against women and child abuse.
According to an article published on my Zimbabwe news, every day at least 22 women are raped in Zimbabwe, and between 2010 and 2018, there was a 74% increase in incidents that were reported. According to the report, statistics derived from police files suggest that a woman is abused every 75 minutes, amounting to an average of 646 victims of sexual abuse every month.
The Lusaka Times further states that the Zambia Police Service has recorded 8,790 occurrences of gender-based violence countrywide during the third quarter of 2022, suggesting that commemorating the sixteen days of activism in the SADC area might be a fruitless endeavor.
There have been other causes for the increase in GBV, the Covid-19 lockdown being responsible for a part. There has been about 71 percent of the 2,416 cases of GBV reported between January and June 2021 by female victims. The main perpetrators were identified as young males aged 18 to 33 years who were either family members or partners in relationships.
Immediate and extended family members are also the primary offenders of child abuse; between January to June 2020, 43,051 children were harmed, primarily via neglect, with 19,884 girls subjected to neglect, abandonment, and blasphemy.
A study conducted by UNISA also shows that there has been an increase in sexual harassment in the workplaces for women.
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