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One Billion Rising


Add your name to the BILLION!!

ONE BILLION RISING IS:

A global strike
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being

On the 14th of February 2013, Zimbabwe will join the progressive movement in fighting violence against women through the One Billion Rising Campaign. Zimbabwe is rising because:-

ONE IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME.

ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITY

ONE BILLION WOMEN dancing IS A REVOLUTION

Considering that rape and violent culture is on the increase in Zimbabwe, it is important that we join the world and place a demand on ending all forms of Violence against women through walking out, dancing and rising to end the culture of VAW.

In the wake of this, Zimbabwe shall rise and dance on 14th of February in Harare to join and support the One Billion rising movement with the rest of the world. The significance of this event is to raise the voice of women of the world in the fight against VAW and to employ a global culture of fighting local injustices with the support of the rest of the global community.

The outcome is being driven by the need to begin a revolutionary yet peaceful culture of fighting against rape, the stripping off of bodily integrity of women, and creating safe spaces for them to survive in.

Can we walk out, rise, dance together; and demand a stop to violence against women.

This article was written by Nyasha Gloria Sengayi, a member of the One Billion Rising Zimbabwe Team

 

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The Perfect Valentines’ Gift


One in three women on this planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. Set against the world population of 7 billion, and a total global female population of about 3.5 billion, it means not a hundred (100), not a thousand (1000), not ten thousand (10 000), not a hundred thousand (100 000), nor a million (1 000 000), but ONE BILLION (1 000 000 000) women shall suffer some form of violence in their lifetime. This is an atrocity of unparalleled proportions, yet it is happening right under our noses.  It needs to stop and there is something that we can all do to change this.

On 14 February 2013, anyone who thinks this is unacceptable can join the global campaign to end violence against women and rise. Imagine one billion individuals rising in unison and solidarity to say THIS ENDS HERE!!!

Spread some love, preach peace and advocate an end to violence against women(Picture credit turnbacktogod.com)

Spread some love, preach peace and advocate an end to violence against women
(Picture credit turnbacktogod.com)

Renowned world leaders such as the Dali Lama have pledged their support and commitment to this campaign. Celebrities such as Jane Fonda , Anne Hathaway , Alice Walker , Thandie Newton, Jessica Alba, Kerry Washington, and many others are rising.

Give yourself and the world the perfect Valentines’ Gift: Rise and play your part. Organise or assist in organising an event advocating an end to violence against women on 14 February. Sponsor such an event. Join an event in protest or dance. Spread the word about the campaign. Blog about this. Sponsor the fight against violence against women. Build a shelter for victims of violence. Counsel an abused woman. Give medical attention to victims. Support a woman to walk away from an abusive relationship. Protect a child from abuse. End child marriages. Fight human trafficking. Educate a boy child not to grow into an abusive man.

A central feature of any event organised to protest the violence against women should be DANCING: as dancing is the quintessential way in which women can celebrate the freedom to own their bodies. It is easy to do, can happen anywhere, and men are REQUIRED (and welcomed) to join in.

Zimbabwe is joining the rest of the world in rising. Like the One Billion Rising Zimbabwe Facebook page, and share your reasons for rising.

*The One Billion Rising global movement to end violence against women and girls is the brainchild of Eve Ensler, an American activist and award-winning playwright.*

 

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Feminist Chronicles: Diary 15: Netsai Mushonga


Here we are. halfway through the Feminist Chronicles and I could not have chosen a more opportune moment to talk about one of the most revered, respected and influential women fighting the cause of women in Zimbabwe.

 Even amongst the grassroots Netsai Mushonga is well known.  I can understand why. Zimbabwe is a very patriarchal society where a woman’s place in her home and in the general public sphere is carved by societal norms and expectations. The expectation is that every woman should marry, should have children and then only after that does she become recognisable as a full human being.

Netsai Mushonga

Women’s rights are perceived to be totally discordant with traditional cultural values and any woman who fights for the rights of women is presumed to be either single and bitter or divorced and bitter-BITTER being the leading assumption.

 It is hence quite perplexing for men and exhilarating for women when a woman who has done the expected and lives the perceived ‘normal’ version of a life stands boldly and preaches gender equality, women’s emancipation and women’s equal rights. That is why many people LISTEN to Netsai Mushonga when she fights for the rights of women.

Whereas if I were to go and advise abused women to report their husbands, they would likely ask if I am married and the moment I, (the old doddering spinster that I am) said No, then they would ask, so what right have you got to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do in my marriage when you have never been in one.

 There are some of course who will accuse Netsai of double standards, saying that she is misleading women to take a path that she has not taken, for instance telling abused women to walk away if they so wish, a misunderstanding of course that comes from people’s ignorance about the concept of gender equality. Most Zimbabwean men, and some women are of the misguided notion that gender equality embraces values that are anti-family, anti-marriage and anti-men.

 Despite these mindsets, Netsai’s strategic placement has seen her emerging as a role model for rural women. She has taught women to fearlessly stand up for themselves and to challenge abusive cultural practices and traditions.

 In 1996, Netsai joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Zimbabwe, and later served as the Chairperson of the International Committee of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR). In 1997 she started the women peacemakers program. Currently she is the National Coordinator for the Women’s Coalition, an umbrella organisation of more than 60 women’s rights organisations in Zimbabwe.

 Netsai has published an advisory booklet for the church community on violence against women on how to rehabilitate survivors to continue with their lives. In another one of her articles ” Democracy in the eyes of women in Zimbabwe,’ Netsai emphasises that women can not fully participate in a democratisation process when they do not have access to resources, when the decision-making sphere is marred by violence, and when restrictive laws and regulations prevailing over the exercise of their fundamental freedoms are in place. One striking point that Netsai makes is that there can not be democracy in the public sphere when its not there in the private sphere. She aptly argues that if decisions at the family level are made for a woman about whether she gets employed, where she is employed, where she travels, whether she will undertake further studies, as well as the kind of car she can drive then this is tantamount to a dictatorship. That woman will not find it any easier to challenge dictatorship at the level of the state.

 Under Netsai’s tutelage, the Women’s Coalition is currently working with government officials in drafting a new Constitution for the country. Lobbying for policy change is her passion and she was one of the leading figures who were instrumental in pushing for the enactment of the Domestic Violence Bill in 2006.

 Netsai has also been very vocal in pushing the Inclusive government to redress gender imbalances in the management of the Parliamentary led constitution making process. She has demanded that every decision that the government takes should adhere to the commitment in the Global Political Agreement to ensure gender parity.

 She is constantly challenging the lack of political will by politicians to achieve real gender equality as the state abdicates its targets set by the Millennium Development Goals.

 Netsai, over the years has faced resistance from the state for the work she does. On 8 November 2005, she got arrested for convening a meeting at a local hotel where she trained women in using non-violent means as a tool for dispute resolution under the banner of Women Peacemakers International. She was charged with contravening section 24 (6) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) a piece of legislation that civil society organisations have been fighting to get rid of. Although she was later released, this arrest was a negative development given that the discussion was a crucial one in light of the elections that had just passed and were characterised by violence against women.

In November 2011 she, together with a group of women marching for gender parity in the constitution making process were barred by the police. The march was meant to be peaceful but obviously the police does not care about that, all they do not want is the free expression of people’s will.

 Netsai sits on the Spiritual Alliance to stop Intimate Violence (SAIV) Council together with the likes of Emilia Muchawa and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She is also a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

 

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