Stakeholders advancing the rights of women have urged informal traders to reports cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV). BVTA has learnt that cases of GBV have been on the increase during the COVID-19 induced lockdown period which was meant to curb the spread of the corona virus.
The national lockdown that started in March 2020 has increased the number of gender based violence cases. Informal traders were not allowed to operate during the lockdown and they were forced to stay at home with their partners and some were abusive and vented out their anger on them.
Women in the informal sector have been abused in public places and they have suffered silently without reporting.
In a chatroom organized by Emthonjeni Women’s Forum recently, women informal traders that participated in the chatroom were urged by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to report cases of GBV.
Some forms of GBV include sexual harassment, sextortion, extortion and physical harassment, some women informal traders have suffered gender based violence from their partners and this was caused by the national lockdown that forced everyone to stay indoors and women were left with no means to make money and as a result some were forced to stay with their abusive partners within households.
Reports from many organizations suggests that because of lockdown, reports of domestic violence have escalated. Emthonjeni Women’s Forum report state that the forum has attended to some GBV cases that are linked to the pandemic.
Campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence are part an advocacy to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women in the informal sector.
A majority of women are found in the informal sector and they earn their living in that sector and faced GBV and are denied social protection.
A 2019 report by UKAid (2019) states that female cross border traders face high rates of gender based violence, often experienced as poly victimization.