SWAZILAND: Unite to Fight GBV and Femicide!

Since the inception of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, violence against women and girls has been spreading like wild fire, ranging from physical abuse to femicide. We are currently experiencing situations where children are also involved and there are trends of killing them after their mother. All these serious red flags reflect an almost hopeless future as patriarchal societies produce violent nations.

Swaziland has not been spared of this violence, especially with the political unrest which is rooted in state violence. This results in the whole country experiencing violence, with women especially vulnerable. Statistics from an organisation fighting GBV shows that in a population of about 1.2 million people, in the period from January to October 2022 alone, 270 children and 1 289 adults experienced various forms of abuse such as emotional, physical, sexual, financial and neglect. Despite this, the women’s movement is not deterred and has not given up the fight against GBV. Instead there is a need to understand more deeply what the root causes of GBV are so that our advocacy efforts are in the right direction.

In searching for these answers, the Swaziland Rural Women’s Assembly (SWRA) collaborated with a sister organisation to host a summit which consisted of SRWA women community organisers, traditional leaders and stakeholders. The summit was intended to look at possible community strategies that will help in addressing the root causes of GBV so that we put an end to GBV as well as femicide (GBVF). Among the root causes of GBV which was deliberated on, was the land question and how the lack of access to land makes women vulnerable to abuse since perpetrators know that women and/or girls may have nowhere to go.

Participants agreed that all these efforts will need resources so there is a great need that GBVF is declared as a national emergency to release these resources. The summit created strategies for how we can push the government to declare GBVF a national emergency. In addition, SRWA produced broadcast content to help educate the nation about GBVF in an effort to influence behaviour change. To watch, please click this link.

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