GBV: Zim Women Suffer in Silence

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‘Home is best’, so they say. However, the current economic situation in Zimbabwe portray a different narrative altogether a ‘home is worst’ kind of scenario. Infested with rampant inflation, shortage of medication and basic commodities, high cost of leaving, even dying in Zimbabwe has become expensive as Funeral insurance companies also increased their premiums by more than 100%, surely there is nothing best about this home. Faced with a homeless situation many Zimbabweans flee abroad and to neighboring countries, South Africa being the most destination in a bid to seek greener pastures.

But…but is South Africa (Egoli) really the land of milk and horny as being purported, especially for foreign women?

Without fear or favour, Pamella Machimbidza our correspondent in South Africa reports on what’s really on the ground:

The fear of being deported back home has pushed our women to be victimised in silence. They have learnt to normalise the abnormal.

Gender based violence is a scourge facing South African women and so Zimbabweans in the country are no exception.

A 2016 stats SA and South African Medical research council survey shows that one in five women experienced violence at the hands of a partner .

It is very sad that as South African women are breaking the silence Zimbabwean women in SA have chosen to remain silent. For them it is a lesser evil than being deported back to Zimbabwe.

It is common knowledge that when a woman reports a case of abuse an arrest is made and the victim is urged to separate with the perpetrator. The south African Police Services can even offer free transport for the victim to collect her belongings if they wish to. If the victim has nowhere to go, there are temporary shelters provided.

However to Zimbabwean women in South Africa this is not enough .
With the high unemployment rate in SA jobs have become more scarce especially to foreign nationals.
So for a foreign women to fend for herself after breaking free from an abuser-cum-breadwinner, it is quite impossible thus mostly police will urge one to go back home with transport provided.

This is the fear of many. Going back home penniless. Speaking to a couple of women in the city of Polokwane was not an easy task. All of them spoke on condition of anonymity and I discovered three interesting cases.

The first one emotionally narrated her situation, “It’s not easy for me to report my husband because if I do report him and he gets arrested what will I eat and who will pay rent. The police will just complicate the situation. At least here they receive grants so it is easy for them to report because government feeds their children”.

The second one expressed that she regrets breaking away from her abusive husband. She said she is a mother of three and she faces more abuse now from men.

In a statement she said, “I have three children who are staying with my mother in Kwekwe. I am unemployed and they expect groceries every month from me so I decided to use my body to get money. The problem is when I date a man they become possessive and they prohibit me from seeing another man. They forget that I’m not looking for serious relationships. In December last year I was beaten I couldn’t report him because I have no papers so I was afraid of being deported after the case”.

The third women stays with her partner. She has three children and one is from a previous marriage. She claims that her husband has a problem with the presence of her son. She stated that her partner usually verbally attacks both of them and sometimes it becomes physical but she just has to endure because they have children together.

Lest we forget, when a woman is abused the child is no exception. Something must be done immediately to help such women and children stranded in foreign lands.

If we do not act now, who knows 10 or more years to come Zimbabwe might become the new South Africa in terms of high cases of gender based violence.

Pamella Machidzimba can be contacted using either one of the attached details below:
SA Phone number is 0027845766775
Zim Phone number is 00263779176263

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