Tag Archives: Nyari Mashayamombe

Getting Personal with Gender Based Violence(GBV)

Nyari Nyaradzo MashayamombeNyaradzo Mashayamombe Speaking at Forum 2000 in The Czech Republic October 2017

Until you’ve been a victim of rape, physical violence, emotional trauma, then #metoo or #16DaysofActivism won’t mean anything to you. Until you’ve had a daughter sexually assaulted, a wife raped, a sister physically harassed or yourself felt unprotected, then you will want us to be silent. I’ve been exposed to emotional abuse as a child, I had near sexual abuse moments that play in my head that sometimes I wonder how it didn’t happen, at the hands of older relatives. I’ve suffered physical violence at the hands of those close to me as a result of the work that I do to speak out against GBV and holding especially men to contribute their own share in their families through either house work or productivity.

I’ve been asked questions like ‘are you married’ as a way of silencing me because most of women who are married are expected to keep quiet on Gender Based Violence (GBV). I’ve seen people side with perpetrators of violence in a painful way leaving you the victim questioning the worthiness of your own life. I’ve witnessed police asking women to go back home and address the GBV sending them right into the arms of the perpetrator and I’ve myself been asked by a male police officer to go and ‘deal with the issue since it regards a relative’.  This is a simple example of the failure of justice system to protect victims of abuse simply because most times the male officers have biases, that they are also subjecting their own wives to the abuse and they’d rather sympathize with perpetrators. In all this as a Human Right Defender I’ve leant a couple of lessons;

1. The abused person has to look out for themselves most times as relatives simply take side of the perpetrator! They are going to play down your suffering and protect the perpetrator. My advise is as a victim whose being abused, have your own back, take action and go against everyone seeking to silence you because in their silencing, you are loosing your own self-confidence, your own self worth, you are inviting continued perpetration and you are making abusing you ok for everyone watching! Reporting doesn’t mean divorce in the case of those married, it means you are asking your partner to put boundaries, having him/her picked by the police and having some punishment helps them understand that you are a human being who is to be respected, valued and loved and that if they don’t see that for themselves then you will take steps to help them respect you. This is also for those violating for the first time, if the person is known for perpetual abuse or the second time, certainly take drastic measures like asking for protection order or asking that the person leaves the environment or house until they get help.

2. There is tremendous hostility for people especially women who suffer violence and try to seek justice. When I had this nasty experience, I was clear that I would not allow a person to go without some accountability, and taking steps ensured that I attracted amazing hostility and backlash. In that moment I leant that someone thought my life wasn’t worth that much as I thought I was worthy through the impunity they gave to the abusive person and hostility that followed because i’d taken action. However it became clear that I was the one responsible for respecting the life God gave me and that nobody had the right to rate my life lower than God means for it through being dehumanized by physical or any form of violence. I realized it was me who controlled that whether I would allow this to go unaddressed, I chose to address it and to deal with the hostility that followed.

3. The notion that victims of abuse especially women are unable to report abuse to get help became so vivid, because if they depend on that man to survive financially, or if they are a muroora (daughter in law) in that family then the whole family will ask her not to report and if she does she invites punishment, so that means for women one has to have a plan, to have economic empowerment so they can make choices and not depend on their abusers.

4. That when a person is physically stronger to abuse you, in the moment of abuse you can feel powerless. I personally felt a sense of being exposed, that the social system that was bound by the relationship contract had been broken and the only next thing that could protect me was the law. As I thought of my next steps being the law I felt some restoration already beginning. As the police arrived I saw my perpetrator feeling subdued and afraid of the police, that gave me back my power to realise that there is something that bring us all equal, thus the law. No wonder why justice in our traditional setups from time immemorial as African people was always there within the traditional courts that made someone pay cattle or have some form of punishment as restitution. The elders knew this was important. Our present day justice system has to work for victims to be restored or for them to begin their healing process. Even as I took steps inspite of opposition, I was happy I was putting myself first and this helped me.

Nyari Mashayamombe Nyaradzo NyaraDuring a #16Days of Activism to end GBV March in Harare 9 December Continue reading Getting Personal with Gender Based Violence(GBV)

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An End to an Intriguing 2015 Purposeful 2016 and Beyond!

Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe
Nyaradzo Mashayamombe receives the Human Rights Defender Artist of the Year Award from Zim Rights for the song Cry which features Chiwoniso Maraire

The year 2015 has been truly eventful. One which we are willing to put behind and cross over to the new year, 2016. The past year hasn’t been so easy, many tests were thrown at me but i want to believe however, that i pulled through. Such is life, they say what doesnt kill you, makes you stronger.

A quick mention of the goodness of the Lord; Other than the challenges and privilege to continue fighting for the rights of the girls with Tag a Life International #TaLI, i had my own self to develop and personal projects to pursue. At work, we managed to train more than 300 Community Peer Educators, more than 500 young people and 76 Teachers in the Midlands Province and also assist survivors of rape to get services, as well as Celebrate our 5th Year Anniversary through introducing Child Rights Awards called TCHRAs.

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For leading such an initiative, God granted me the grace to be recognized by 3 institutions in the form of awards. Zimbabwe International Women’s Awards (ZIWA) honored me with the ‘Community Champion Title of the Year’ in September 2015. Then StarFM Zimbabwe went on to recognize me with the People’s Choice Humanitarian Award2015 on December the 4th.

Lastly but not least, Zimbabwe Human Rights awarded me the Human Rights Defender Artist of the Year Award for the Song ‘Cry’ which i sang to raise awareness on the rights of the Girls and Young Women especially around Sexual Abuse and Child Marriages in Zimbabwe, highlighting the fact that, the perpetrators against girls are often the people that we know. This song also features the late Chiwoniso Maraire.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6achBH-P3AU

Inspite of all the challenges that we faced this year, this has been to encourage me and my team, to strengthen us that no-matter how difficult things may be, the Lord who has commissioned for this work will see us through if we continue to put our trust in him.

TaLI also turned 5 this year and we made the next five year Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2020 after an evaluation of the work that we’d done over the years. To our partners HIVOS, US Embassy and PEPFAR, as well as Individual Friends of TaLI my work would not have been possible without you. To the dear sisters who held my hands and brothers who stood by me in my work through thick and thin, i say the journey has just begun, lets keep fighting for the Human Rights and Social Justice for Girls, Young Women and our entire communities.

For personal development and projects; i’m forever grateful for the strength God gave me to begin to pursue my Masters Degree; Master of Science in Development Studies Degree.

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The greatest happiness for me has been the recording and release of my Music Album #Zvatiri which is a celebration of my own life as a black woman, who was born in a world where natural beauty is distorted by the infiltration of skin bleaching and magazine model type of a woman’s beauty which causes a lot of damage to girls and women. The black women particularly are made to apologise for their beautiful pigment of their skin that is chocolate, the curves of their body which many pay millions for and the strength of their voices which often thunders the African Jazz melodies.

The talks about the African Beauty, Love, Gospel and social issues such as girls and women issues. http://www.financialgazette.co.zw/nyarie-mashayamombe-releases-third-album/ .  The Album has since received a lot of coverage including BBV Africa. https://www.newsday.co.zw/2015/12/19/nyaradzos-album-scoops-human-rights-award/ . It is also available on iTunes and CD Baby.

What this year has taught me is that one does not need the assurance of another person to pursue what one cares about or their purpose because, some people will doubt you, others will insinuate hateful things and challenge the core of what you care about if you are not careful, you may begin to self-doubt. Most importantly, there are those who really do not care about what you do, who can have bad intentions and shallow such that they can trash everything that you’ve ever worked or poured your sweat for, but in all this, we are strengthened by what we believe.

It is the liberating that we do what we do not for human beings glorification, but for the greatest call, they may seek to take advantage, but you will prevail! Here is to a conquering and wonderful, prosperous, healthy and happy 2016, whatever God blesses, no man can curse!