DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA has topped the list of six countries surveyed on gender-based violence (GBV) with 89 percent.
Lesotho is second with 86 percent followed by Zimbabwe with 68 percent, Botswana with 67 percent, South Africa with 50 percent and Mauritius with 24 percent.
A Gender Links GBV Indicators studies found high levels of GBV in all six countries surveyed, with the highest incidence in Zambia at 89 percent.
According to the survey, women in Zambiaâ€™s four districts of Kasama, Kitwe, Mansa and Mazabuka had experienced GBV in their lifetime.
A higher proportion of women reported experience of GBV compared to men admitting to perpetration of GBV in all six countries.
The survey show that the most violence takes place behind closed doors, perpetrated by family and intimate partners, and highlights the importance of peace in the home and the need for women to be safe in both private and public spheres.
â€œThe most predominant form of GBV experienced by women in the six countries occurs within intimate partnerships. This ranges from 90 percent in the Zambian districts surveyed to 23 percent in Mauritius. Though not yet fully recognised as a crime, marital rape is pervasive and contributes to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Other types of GBV that remain underreported include sexual harassment and human trafficking,â€ the survey read in parts.
Gender Links chief executive officer Colleen Lowe Morna said her organisation recognises how homophobia and transphobia fuels gender-violence directed at people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
â€œAs Gender Links, we call for an end to violence against anybody and a full respect of all human rights. Despite these shocking levels, governmentsâ€™ negligible expenditure on prevention and their insufficient gender budgeting hinder implementation of related legislation as well as action plans to tackle GBV,â€ Ms Lowe Morna said.
She said there is an urgent need to establish GBV baselines in all Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and strengthen integrated, costed planning frameworks for ending GBV.
Ms Lowe Morna said a commitment to 365 days of no gender violence is crucial if the region is to ever totally eradicate GBV and achieve gender equality.
She said the 2015 SADC Gender Protocol deadline to halve GBV is a matter of months away and sadly the SADC region will not meet this target.
However, she said with an unwavering attitude of zero tolerance we can strengthen the targets and goals in the post-2015 agenda to ensure this mark is not missed again in 2030.
DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka