Zambia: A diary from a gender activist during Sixteen Days

Date: December 16, 2011
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Lusaka, 24 November: It’s five am, the day before the International Day of No Violence Against Women that kicks off the Sixteen days of Activism campaign. My alarm rings barely six hours after I arrive in the Zambian capital and I am in a panic as I will be speaking in a few hours about why we need better ways to measure gender violence. I rummage through my E Mails to find the invitation from the Irish Embassy and UN agencies and highlight a few numbers.

In 2010, Zambian police recorded 8,673 cases of gender violence. Yet according to the 2007 Zambian Demographic and Health Survey, 47% women have experienced physical violence in their lifetime, and 33% in the previous year. Some quick maths. There are six million women in Zambia. So assuming not much has changed since 2007, two million would have experienced violence in 2010: 230 times more than the number reported to the police. The factor of over 200 rings a bell.

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Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service

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