GBV indicators prompt a collective response on violence against women

GBV indicators prompt a collective response on violence against women

Date: March 8, 2013
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New York, 8 March: Shock, disbelief and denial were some of the initial reactions to the results of the gender based violence (GBV) indicators study in Botswana. It is only when the national government and all key stakeholders embraced the findings that the country witnessed renewed impetus to collectively address GBV. Mme Valencia Mogegeh, the Director of Women’s Affairs Department in Botswana admitted this during a panel discussion at a parallel event hosted by Gender Links and the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance during the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57).

With at least 67% of women reporting to have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime and 44% of men admitting to have committed some form of violence against women in their lifetime, results show that Botswana has the third highest level of GBV prevalence among the five SADC countries that have rolled out the GBV indicators project.

Elsewhere, the results from household surveys show that:

  • At 89%, results from four districts Kasama, Kitwe, Mansa and Mazabukaplace Zambiaas having the highest level of women who reported to have experienced some form of gender based violence in their lifetime and 72% of men admitted perpetration of some form of GBV against women in their lifetime.
  • Zimbabwe emerged as second highest with 68% women having experienced some form of GBV, and 46% males have perpetrated some form of GBV against women in their lifetime.
  • A four province study in South Africa places the country fourth highest (after Botswana) with 50% women having experienced some form of GBV in their lifetime and 39% men having perpetrated some form of GBV against women in their lifetime.
  • The lowest figure of 24% of women who have experienced GBV in their lifetime is from Mauritius with 23% of men who said they had perpetrated some form of gender-basedviolence against women in their lifetime.

Apart from the prevalence and attitudes household survey, the research uses analysis of administrative data gathered from the criminal justice system (police and courts), health services and shelters; qualitative research on men’s experiences of intimate partner violence as well as first-hand accounts of women and men’s experiences (‘I’ stories); media monitoring and political discourse analysis.

After Colleen Lowe Morna, Chief Executive Officer of Gender Links shared the results and methodology of the research, participantsfelt that with all this evidence of high levels of gender violence, there should be a sense of urgency to get member states and all stakeholders to act decisively on violence against women (VAW) or at least in the agreed conclusions of CSW57.

“What are we going to do if we wait for institutions governed by men to affirm us? Then we are losing the struggle”, lamented Romana Tasco a physician and minister who works in disaster zones.

Matrine Bbuku Chuulu a member of the Alliance Think Tank and Regional Coordinator of the Women in Law Southern Africa Research Trust (WLSA) Regional Office is concerned that 47 years ago when CSW focused on gender violence as a theme, there were no agreed conclusions. This year there are indications that there may be no agreed conclusions again as negotiations seem to be riddled with contention.

Nyaradzayi Gumbodzvanda the Secretary General of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and chair of the NGO CSW in Geneva wondered what was so difficult about understanding that rape is wrong. What is so difficult about coming to agreed conclusions on the plight of women?

Back home in Botswana, the findings have sparked an unprecedented engagement around the results as everyone has internalised the reality that VAW has reached unacceptable levels. Mogegeh welcomed the fact that the results provided a springboard for a countrywide drive to address GBV.

Cabinet sent the Women’s Affairs Department back to the drawing board to come up with baseline data for every district beyond the “narrow statistical sample” to better understand the dynamics of each locality that would inform future strategies.

In fact, the President of Botswana, Ian Khama has tasked everyone in the country to map the response that each current and prospective stakeholder would undertake as part of a multi-sector approach to addressing GBV as a response to the findings.

Women and Development (WAD) is setting the pace by taking the study to local level through local government structures working closely with the Centres of Excellence for gender mainstreaming in local government that Gender Links has established.

However, as Lowe Morna pointed out, that local government is a sphere of government that is closest to the people and can bring about change when working together withwith communities to GBV.

It is important that countries that have enrolled in the GBV indicators study take time to understand what the findings are telling them as Botswana has done.That will be the beginning of a collective response to GBV in SADC.

Since the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, has a target to reduce by 50% current levels of GBV by 2015, this study provides baseline data against which countries can measure progress.

SADC member states who attended a preparatory meeting for CSW57 in Maputo earlier in February 2013 commended countries that have conducted the study that measures extent, causes, effects and responses to violence against women and girls. They also urged a strengthening of data collection and management systems. This will in turn strengthen the process of reviewing and implementing 365 Day National Action Plans to End Gender Based Violence.

As the parallel session came to an end participants used the opportunity to provide a list of suggestions of what they would like to see in the post-2015 development framework under negotiation. One of the key issues is to strengthen indicators on VAW as well as suggest a strong monitoring and evaluation framework to measure progress. Despite hurdles her and there, SADC is well on its way to a collective response in addressing violence against women.

To read more about the methodology and key findings from the GBV Indicators Study please visit

Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah is the Alliance and Partnerships Manager for Gender Links.This article is part of GL’s special coverage of CSW 57.



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