A Woman’s Place is in the Home: Gender Based Violence and Opposition Politics in Zimbabwe

Gender stereotyping, usually associated with a society which identifies with patriarchal norms, is easily identified as prevalent in Zimbabwe where it often presents itself under the guise of traditional African or conservative Christian values.

In Zimbabwe, despite equality clauses in the country’s Constitution and the fact that Zimbabwe is a signatory to Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the perception of women as in some way “belonging” to men or beholden to them remains strong. The Domestic Violence bill proved controversial precisely because of the perception amongst some men that they should, and indeed ought, to physically “discipline” their wives when the occasion requires.

It is still the case that instances of rape in the rural areas are dealt with outside of the courts by village leaders. Frequently, the settlement requires the rapist or his family to pay compensation, not to the woman or girl, but to her father. The compensation which is paid is regarded as ameliorating what would be a reduced bride price “roora” paid to the bride’s father on account of the violation.

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Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.