Tag Archives: Women’s Rights

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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#ThisFlag: When Citizens Rise!

 

Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe Citizens Rising #thisflag

#ThisFlag: Citizens Rising

It’s imperative to know that the days building up to Zimbabwe Independence Day 2016 saw many Zimbabweans online speaking out on issues troubling our country. Beginning with the missing 15 billion dollars that President Robert Mugabe brought to light, to the MDC March, which drew a lot of support and scrutiny, to now, where Zimbabweans are using #Thisflag to unify voices online. This hashtag builds on the voices of concerned citizens who have been petitioning against bad governance, unaccountable, nontransparent leaders, and ongoing corruption. To suggest that this hashtag campaign is any other ideology, is a cheap way of thinking that Zimbabweans are stupid, docile and cannot see straight through the theft, plundering and human rights abuses that have been perpetuated over the years by our leaders.

Activists from all walks of life have been speaking about holding leaders accountable for their corruption. I, too, remember venting on Facebook just after hearing about the missing money that Zimbabweans shouldn’t joke as much as they did online over serious matters like national resources, or 15 billion dollars going missing, but should be bold to hold leaders accountable.

The campaign against corruption, bad governance and accountability has predecessors who ought to be remembered even as citizens rise today, and to know that they stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before them. It’s important to reflect on the lives of human rights activists who died for this country since the year 2000, who were made to disappear and who starved because they spoke out boldly – calling the masses to action and fighting for #ThisFlag.  Itai Dzamara is a name close to our hearts of a young Zimbabwean man who felt fed up just like many people online who are using #thisflag today, and those that have been and will continue talking about these issues. Women were raped and killed between 2000 and 2008 fighting for a better Zimbabwe.

Further, we see the power of the part the church plays in a struggle. In the past, churches have played the role of praying for the country, while activists took to the streets, to television and newspapers about the suffering of the people and the misuse, bad governance and corruption this country has endured. Pastor Evan Mawarire rising from the citizens and as a pastor, is a role model that makes many citizens realise and claim their power and see it as OK to finally approach leadership to make things right for the country, supporting the work activists have struggled with over the years. Simply put, the people have a right and are exercising that right!

People are beginning to realise that #ThisFlag represents our country. We are part of it, it’s not for the people whom we put into power to manipulate and use against us, it’s ours. Whomever wants to side line, minimize and make this movement seem like it is about one person, or funded by whoever, needs to realise that it is ours!

#ThisFlag Nyaradzo Mashayamombe

Now, following Pastor Evan Mawarire’s Ms Ruvheneko and Mr. Tafadzwa,  it leaves a lot to be desired about how patronised people have been over the years. The record has to be set straight.  I noted the following about the interview and I would like to comment as such:

  • Zimbabweans speaking out through #ThisFlag is a constitutional right, a responsibility they have for their children and future generations. It is a shame that over the years as citizens, they’d left the speaking out only to human rights activists, opposition political parties, and foreigners. But now it is time we took our rightful place in our civil society.
  • #ThisFlag is part of already ongoing discussions and talks about governance issues and corruption in this country. It shouldn’t be mistaken for anything but an open space for all citizens whose jobs have been lost, education hindered, and human rights violated to reclaim and lift #ThisFlag and #FixOurCountry. Over the years Zimbabwe has had activists both online and in mainline media encourage youths, women and communities to speak out. As a human rights activist I’ve had the privilege of working and campaigning on the ground and online with the following friends in my circles who’ve spoken out on countless times about these issues as concerned citizens, they are not from the West or East, they are mainly from Zimbabwe and are Zimbabweans. This list includes the following people: Cleopatra Ndlovu, Nyasha Sengayi, Tendai Garwe, Shingi Mavima, Lucy Mazingi Makaza, Janah Ncube Musimwa, Mike Tashaya, Angela Machonisa, Tariro Tandi, Barbara Nyagomo, Tafadzwa Bete Sasa, Martha Tholana, Jimmy Wilford, Thomas Chizhanje, Mbuya Muroro, Fadzai Mukonoweshuro, Henry Chitsenga, Fortune Pahwaungana, Alex Magaisa, Brian Muchemwa, Chipo Bangira, Arthur Gwagwa, Doc Suli, Simbarashe Nyanhanga, Glen Dhliwayo, Carl Joshua Ncube, Chipo Bangira, Rita Nyampinga, Trevor Ncube, Netsai Mushonga, Norman Musimwa, Sylvia Sanyanga, McDonald Lewanika, Hillary Musarurwa, Nigel Mugamu, Maria Mapolisa, Beighton Chireka, Tayiwona Sanangurai, Wilhelm Olivier, Batsirai Chigama, Jestina Mukoko, Charlton Tsodzo, Hillary Musarurwa, Nelsy Ncube, Barbara Mhangami, Ropafadzo Mapimhidze, Nqo Dube, Grace Chirenje, Sally Dura and my big sister Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, to mention but a few.  The common thread they share is the love and the care for their country.  Many of them are lifting #ThisFlag and reclaiming the pride through speaking out.

The threatening and intimidation that we heard from the panelist Tafadzwa Musarara, who was supposed to be a political analyst but turned out to be an apologist against freedom of expression, is what has kept many Zimbabweans silent. Intimidating brave citizens like Evan Mawarire from speaking not only violates the constitution, but tries to keep the country under the pedagogy of oppression. The oppressed have to realise that they are oppressed and they have to rise! The citizens are rising and the ancestors of Zimbabwe must be happy. Nehanda and Chaminuka brought us the legacy so that we can look after it well, this docility and passivity has kept their bodies rolling in their graves for a long time.

#ThisFlag is creating a path to fixing our country and the start is that we demand for a public inquiry into the missing fifteen billion dollars and the public must be kept informed about this process.  Secondly the ministers declare their wealth and every suspected act of corruption and misuse of national resources be accounted for, and perpetrators not only pay back but be prosecuted. We know mismanagement and swindling resources by an elite few has kept us on our knees. We will hold those who lead us to account for that power that we gave them through the election. Thirdly ministers should respect the electorate and remain accountable and getting a mandate from those they represent, beginning with the Ministry of Education.  Imposing changes like national pledge without public inquiry and changing traditional and religious things like Scripture Union, and refusing NGOs in schools to share legal information single-handedly (such as comprehensive reproductive health rights) is unacceptable. Zimbabwe is a constitutional country which should be run according to the constitution. #ThisFlag campaign will indeed bring our country to systematic accountability and end corruption! Zimbabweans are rising holding #thisflag to #fixourcountry!. Lets continue sharing and build on the movement!

Nyaradzo Mashayamombe is Human Rights Activist, Founder and Executive Director of Tag a Life Inter(TaLI), Development Consultant, Recording Artist and lover of life. Twitter handle: @nyarimash.

#NoXenophobia #SpeakOutXeNOphobia !!

#xeNOphobia has harnessed our bothers and sisters and time is now to act!

Each and everyone of us must be bothered at the welfare of another human being, you are reading this message now, you are a human being, you can also be passionate about Justice and Human Rights if you are not yet that. While some of South African Citizens’ issues are genuine for instance the issues of illegal immigrants and their impact on lawlessness and other issues, South Africa MUST remember that its own liberation came as a result of it getting help from other African countries, therefore it does not have to quickly forget that.

We have witnessed brutal burning of our brothers and sisters alive, this is not acceptable on every level. Our Presidents have also not prioritised this and their silence is deafening! We need to raise our voices quickly and now.  Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia whereever you are in Africa, rise against this barbarism. Lets ask our Presidents to speak and shun this evil, South Africa MUST be reminded by someone that it is our brothers and sisters who have contributed to the building of that ECONOMY, it is their sweat as well.

Many of our countries especially Zimbabwe has given South Africa millions of dollars in their exports and this is how they pay us back! When Apartheid tormented South Africa, Africa was there and so was the rest of the World, SOUTH AFRICA YOU CANT FORGET, It is fooling of you to do so!

I am suggesting a Twitter campaign, to speak against #Xenophobia and immediately ask our presidents to Act! People’s Social Media’s walls are blazing with anger especially Facebook at this injustice by some of our ignorant South African brothers and sisters who either take part in this brutality, killing and burning of our people alive, or those who just stand and watch and do nothing!   Lets translate our anger into something tangible.

Lets say #NoXenophobia #xeNOphobia. Rather than just vent with nothing to show for it, each time you write something on Facebook and twitter concerning xenophobia, please hashtag #NoXenophobia or simply #xeNOphobia to speak out against it. Lets tag our local media, news papers,  local radio stations, televisions, international media houses, celebrities and this is the the power we have, the power to speak out! Lets utilise social media for change, get posting, get hash tagging! We are the change that we want to see,  Save the life of someone through twitter or phase book, use  #NoXenophobia !!

My twitter:                          @nyarimash

Facebook is:                       https://www.facebook.com/nyari.mashayamombe?ref=hl

https://www.facebook.com/Tagalife.TaLI?fref=ts

Why i Speak Out..

I’ve had to suppress how i feel sometimes, i’ve seen things that one would think are obvious and yet to many they are not. I live in a culture which celebrates evil over good, a culture that to a large extent has rewarded those who can manipulate others, systems that do not work for the justice of the deserving you name it. At a very young age i leant to address inequality, unGodliness usually that has befallen girls and women. I’ve seen inconsistency in treatment of girls and boys, and at a younger age i learnt to question that, but a large extent i really did not know what i was doing (a story for another day).

For the first time i’ll tell you how i feel about one of the most important issue that is dear to me, to many young girls, young women and even our mothers! In my opinion the reproductive health and sexuality of women has never been about them, its really been about men.  Had it been reciprocal, that the girls’ bodies be for the men and the men’s bodies be for the girls, as is required in the bible that i believe, i would not write, i would be VERY quiet, because there would be equality, everyone would be happy!! Many girls and young women have been oriented to do it for the men, never for themselves. But young boys and men can do as they feel like, well never for the women.  Its the same man who can trash the girl he marries and yet all her life she’s been trained to play it good for ‘the men’, her future husband! I talk to a young girl who is so scared to talk or open up about this issue, i am addressing it anyways! It has taken me a lot of thinking, a long time of accepting who i really am, well i’m called to speak for the Girl Child who will never admit that this is a problem for her, because she is trying to play it good according to what society expects of her! Society expects us girls to play in nice and safe, never to complain or voice what seems not right.

I’ve come to appreciate and live with who i am, i am who God has called me to be, to be the voice to the voiceless especially the girls and women and anyone vulnerable in my community, to be the comfort to those in need, and hense ‘nyaradzo-yangu’, (my comfort to you)!. I come from a religious background which expects me to be a ‘good girl’, and the definition of being a good girl from my religion often means ‘Do not speak out or question inequalities or oppression and violation of girls and women’, violation under the premise of bad doctrine, that teaches the girls to be sooo good such that, when a marriage fails its said to be her fault. Therefore she will try as much as possible to be the ‘good girl’, against all odds. At that point the man can cheat, bash her, violet her, and the tetes(aunts), the pastors and mothers sometimes will tell her to hold on! You’ll be told to be submissive to the husband who often does not know what love is, or laying down his life for his wife, meanwhile, this is believed to come from the bible that ‘woman ought to submit’, and thats what it is!! Well to the woman who’s held on and prevailed, i thank God for you, but am speaking of the millions who’ve suffered domestic violence, poverty at the hands of oppressive men, some who’ve died as a result of domestic violence, some who’ve suffered torture and abuse, those are the ones am speaking out for!

Well i deliberately made this my very first article on my blog because this issue is too close to my heart, and i believe that is exactly one of the issues that will set the world free, that will honor God and promote truthfulness, because as it is, the world is failing at marriage because it is teaching a short changing doctrine. When i grew up i had issues with marriage, until i had the most liberating preaching of one of an elderly pastors who had visited my church then. I silently grew up a girl who watched a lot of things happen around girls and women. I realised how women were soo oppressed that marriage was never an attraction to me, i viewed it as a sick prison which women enter and then either die silently or loose themselves. It was all under the thought of this what most of the church today have termed ‘submission’. I heard this more than i heard about love, about men laying their lives for their wives as the bible commands, for me the greater than SUBMISSION!!.. Well this pastor taught me the scripture as it says. Eph 5: 22-25 says; “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word”(the greatest submission which the church should teach to the men if true salvation is to fall upon the families)..,

He taught about what submission is for a woman and love is for a man, and that that is a circle, the two go hand in hand, you do not demand one and leave out the other. When a wife submits a husband should love, that on its own is not difficult in my opinion. The hardship comes when a wife is expected to submit and them man does not love, which is maybe a large percentage of these marriages, and one wonders why there is such violence and hatred, there is toomuch demand from women to perform and little from men, and society has gotten away with that. But is that the standard that should be, a big NOO!

So let me break it down right here right now. For me i am not keeping quiet at the expense of pretense and watch women’s lives be ruined. As a young woman it is God’s order if i want to get married, to do so, but not to any jack, not to any jerry, but to a man who fears God, in the truthfulness of fearing God. Who embraces truth, who does his part. I will not marry a man who is selfish, who expects me to submit and does not love me or lay his life for me. i am better off as a Jewel in God’s eyes if i kept myself forever rather than fall into the hands of an unworthy man who does not respect me as a beautiful creation of God, as one who’s made in the image of God and one who is equally a human being like him. I will marry a man who acknowledges justice and equality of human beings, a man who treasures me as the creation of God, and man who will adore me and love me to bits, that man will not demand submission because it will come naturaly. Let me continue this a little later, i just wanted you to hear my heart out.. I shall speak out, i shall not stoop law, Not in this life, never!!