The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and several groups representing women’s empowerment have vowed to utilize the newly-launched Orange Day to tackle and increase awareness of gender-based violence.
Orange Day, which calls for Zimbabweans to wear orange on the 25th day of each month, campaigns for the elimination of violence against women, girls and related issues.
The concept is an off-shoot of the annual United Nations’ 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
The campaign takes place annually worldwide from November 25th to December 10th to raise awareness on the problem and the need to end abuse of women and young girls. It also aims at influencing behavior change and secure commitment from governments to end gender-based violence.
Tag-A-Life International director Nyari Mashayamombe told VOA Studio 7 the concept is to keep the conversation going, even after the annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
“But no more should we be waiting for that, what is happening between January and November is something that we can’t put up with .... So we are just saying that every 25th we highlight and we are painting our cities orange so that we are saying we should speak against gender-based violence. We should speak out against violence against women and girls and also violence against men.”
Musasa Project, an organization dealing with women’s rights, last year recorded over 15,000 cases of gender-based violence countrywide compared to 10,000 in 2013.
Officials said the escalation of the number of cases reported at their offices was also due to socio-economic struggles faced by most Zimbabweans.
Mashayamombe said the Orange Day will be meaningful if it generates debate among local people.
“Let us have conversations in our communities, also for other organizations both men and women’s organizations that work for the protection and peace of our communities, please do activities and highlight this in your communities,” she said.
Among concerns raised against the gender-based violence includes the need for safe zones for both women and men to report cases of assault, timely response from authorities including medical practitioners and police, and the introduction of tougher sentences against perpetrators of these crimes.