Media Challenged To Address GBV Against WAGWDS.

Ronald Chigwada

Women and girls support groups have called upon media to be effective in ending violence against women and girls with disabilities (WAGWDS)
at all levels of society through dissemination of useful information which influences legislation and transforms toxic and harmful practises.

Addressing journalists and stakeholders on the 10th of June 2021 in Harare at a press briefing, Deaf Women Included (DWI) Director Agnes Chindimba’s research and documentary on violence against women and girls with disabilities yielded that the media is an influential instrument in the dissemination of the organisation’s findings on violence against WAGDS.

The research by DWI noted a number of gaps and challenges at all levels of a society when dealing with women and girls with disabilities, however the organisation have established opportunities amongst stakeholders to strengthen response to violence against WAGWDS.

Sustainable Development Goals and Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women states that, media are the fourth arm of the state, journalists must be the voice of the voiceless, and must become part of the solution in solving and highlighting effects of violence on WAGWDS as they are marginalised.

While more than half of women and girls experience violence around the world, WAGWDS are experiencing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) at a higher scale which is further exacerbated and complicated when they live in rural areas. Women and girls with disabilities are almost twice as likely to experience SGBV as women and girls without.

Speaking with one of the journalists who attended the media briefing, Tanyaradzwa Kutaura applauded the Deaf Women Included for the privilege to learn and understand relevant terminology used in disability constituency. Hence, Media capacity building helps to report ethically
and effectively on violence against women.

The media has been tasked to influence the legislative and transform toxic beliefs. Moreover, contributing to violence are the harmful practices such as early child or forced marriage, virginity testing, forced widow inheritance, abuse of women and girls with disabilities and children for ritual purposes or to cure HIV.

Principal Information Officer for Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Lenex Mandipaza also urged journalists to monitor and highlight that disability necessities are provided and human diginity , respect is followed in courts, hospitals, police stations, schools and other public places where needs are indispensable.

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