Gender Based Violence: The Hypocrisy of Women’s Rights Groups

Now that the mass hysteria over the Tino Katsande assault case is ebbing away, I think it is time to take stock over where we are as a country in terms of gender equity and gender based violence.

I totally sympathise with Tino and no matter the circumstances I do not believe anyone has to be assaulted over anything, but on the other hand let us not rush to judge her lover/assailant, at least our law says one is innocent until proven guilty.

But what that case showed me is the total hypocrisy of some of our so called women’s rights and human rights campaigners.

This case showed that most of them are duplicitous opportunists who do not have the interests of women, or anyone’s for that matter, but rather they are after cheap publicity.

Being a journalist, a male one for that matter, I have written few stories about gender violence, my biggest frustration is that it is easier to squeeze water out of a stone than get a comment from these women’s organisations.

They come up with all sorts of excuses for not giving a comment, some downright ludicrous at best, but never anything of substance.

What they would rather do is wait to host a workshop, school people on domestic violence, shove statistics down their throats and pretend to be aggrieved, while rushing to the mountain top, screaming abuse.

The Tino case gave them that opportunity and sooner rather than later, she will be invited to these women’s organisations’ meetings, bestowed with an ambassadorial role and showered will all sorts of glowing titles and honours. But is that what the gender based violence crusade is all about?

Recently I wrote a story in The Standard that up to 15 women were raped daily, a number I believe is abnormally high, and naturally I expected outrage from these women’s organisations, but lo and behold the response was mute.

The few that I managed to speak to, claimed the number was low and this was due to the work women’s organisations had done in schooling the people and building their capacity to report those cases. Really?

There are several stories that my colleagues and I have written and as long as the statistics are not generated by these women’s oganisations, then getting direction or a comment from these organisations can be one of the most frustrating things in life.

This is not a rant against all women’s organisations, no, far from it. There are some out there that really do their work, but it’s those that go about carrying megaphones, yet doing nothing, that really irk me.

While Tino’s case did highlight a sad aspect of our society, some organisation has already milked the incident for all its worth and it’s only a matter of time before the cash registers start ringing.

As for gender equity and gender based violence, watch these organisations coming up with fancy themes, beautiful logos and artistic designs, and as for the battered woman, they eat on her behalf.

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Nqaba Matshazi is a journalist with The Standard.  You can check out his profile (http://www.africaontheblog.com/our-bloggers/nqaba-matshazi/) or follow him on twitter (@nqabamatshazi)

He writes in his personal capacity.

  • Veronica

    Sad but true! Some of these “feminists”….

  • Nice one. And the women dont demand anything from these orgs either so the show continues…

  • Feminist Scheminist

    Yeah exactly why I think rather than making it a media frenzy something real needs to be done. Cuz trust me, if I as a woman voice my concerns on how these organisations are doing it to catch a bit of the limelight and media frenzy; because I am a woman – I will be shot down..not by men by the feminists who are supposed to be on the women’s side. Its all for show.
    Instead of teaching women about watching out for the signs of a man who could beat them. How women can protect themselves, its an opportunity to bash men and not teach other women how it can be avoided. Now the media is on to the next topic, after exposing someone’s personal life has the organisations offer any self defense programs, self esteem building? who knows they refuse to comment.

  • Elektra9

    These so called “feminist organizations” are useless they do nothing to educate or empower women.Instead their main aim is fundraising not the abused women they claim to represent.

  • myopinion

    sadly pressure groups in zimbabwe are merely fundraising gimmicks once donor funds come in and its enough to buy each one an X5 they dnt care anymore!!!!

  • Patience

    it would be great if you would mention who you did try to talk to. You just bashed ALL women’s organisations. Have you ever been in a women’s organisation whose operations you actually know and seen them doing nothing? I would like to see you in an organisation for a week. Why dont you volunteer in one, just for a week and come out with something factual. Beyond your righteous indignation about what is being done/not done, I would like to see the facts from your experience and do tell what you actually think should be done. Be constructive

  • BabaZuwa

    Sadly, this is not a rant but reflective of the current state of women’s politics in Zimbabwe. Replying to Patience I have worked in women’s organisations, they are concerned about funding more than anything else, they are happy with their victimology that doesn’t transform and reduce gender based violence but earns them money from it. Work by Padare and African Fathers Initiative to prevent GBV earns less than 0.005% of funding from donors. So even the donors seem happy to fund GBV victim support but put neglible funding into prevention. The problem is that the women’s movement cannot bear to see funding going towards men’s groups on gender and GBV prevention even though it would be more effective.