Men’s Participation in Combating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Zimbabwe
The Zambakari Advisory Policy Brief, May 2018
4 Pages Posted: 23 May 2018
Date Written: May 1, 2018
Perpetrators of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) are predominantly male, with women constituting the majority of its victims. The resultant association of victimhood with women places the responsibility of combating SGBV on women and excludes men. Gender discourses and policies in Zimbabwe continue to be framed around fighting male dominance or the fact that men wield power and influence in a societal hierarchy which enables them to control women. This focus alienates men who often construe policies on gender equality as disempowering them. They accordingly resist them which exacerbates SGBV instead of reducing its incidence. Yet, social relations do not necessarily divide men and women into irreconcilable binaries whose interaction lacks common interest and shared values. Relations between women and men in the context of kinship structures and the public arena in Zimbabwe are as much characterized by the congruence of interest as they are by contestation. The single story of men perpetrating violence against women excludes other stories between the genders that portray affection, care, shared objectives, and mutual interest. So far, policies intended to promote gender equality have not explored policy alternatives that channel male dominance into efforts to eliminate SGBV in Zimbabwe. There is a need to harness these areas of common interest and utilize them to combat SGBV. Efforts at combating SGBV are likely to succeed with men as partners rather than adversaries. Recent research on men, violence and peacebuilding in Zimbabwe shows that men believe that they are in a better position than women to convince other men to refrain from violence.
Keywords: Zimbabwe, Sexual and Gender-based violence, SGBV, gender roles, Domestic Violence
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