Beyond Legislation. Saying no to Domestic Violence, Lentsoe La Basau Women’s Voices

Date: January 1, 1970
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The story highlights a pending Domestic Violence Bill in Zimbabwe which when passed will provide a legal framework to support women from domestic abuse and violence. However, the law will do little without change in attitudes and practices among intimate partners.

This article may be used in training to:
1. Conduct research on Domestic Violence
2. Demonstrate the link between the need for strong legal frameworks with other contributing factors such as change in attitudes and behaviour.
3. Consider contextualising laws in the feminisation of poverty.
4. Sow and example of advocating through the media for Domestic Violence Bills in individual Southern African countries.
Trainer’s notes:
The reporter contextualises her story in a country where 60% of murder cases going through the courts in 1998 where murder cases. This is supported by a study carried out by the Federation of African Media Women in Zimbabwe as part of the monitoring media reports during the 16 Days of Activism. In terms of original sources the reporter provides examples of two women both aged 23 who died in 2006 at the hands of their intimate partners. She presents her strong opinions on the prospects beyond enactment, if attitudes and practises do not change. The reporter asserts that despite progress made in the lives of women, there is still no significant shift in unequal power relations between women and men. These sentiments were echoed by the government leadership and legislators giving hope to a more engendered budgeting system which speaks to the real needs of women and may engage society to give a stronger voice against domestic violence.
Discussion questions
1. Discuss the gap between paper laws and reality on the ground.
2. How can the media contribute to changing attitudes and practices in order to minimise Domestic Violence?  
Training exercises
1. Study existing legislation on Domestic Violence relating to this article. How does this compare to related services and enforcement.
2. Read or listen to the GL produced "I Stories." Discuss the importance of increasing women’s access to media.
2. Visit an organisation, shelter, or support group, assist women to write their own personal stories that demonstrate the reality for these women.
Links to other training resources
Gender Justice Barometer 2004.pages80-87
Finding Gender in MDGs. Chapter 2
“16 For Life” Campaign
Related GL Commentaries

Download : Genderlinks Page 08

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