Minister Nyoni Dares To End Child Marriage, GBV

Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Sithembiso Nyoni challenged people to join hands and work together towards an end to child marriages and Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Minister Nyoni Dares To End Child Marriage, GBV
Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Sithembiso Nyoni

Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Sithembiso Nyoni challenged people to join hands and work together towards an end to child marriages and Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Speaking at the news conference which marked the beginning of 16 days of activism against GBV in Harare on Wednesday, Minister Nyoni calls to action by everyone to intensify efforts to eradicate the two.

“Let us all take full and collective responsibility in our specific areas to meaningfully contribute towards prevention and response,” she said adding that people should also challenge negative attitudes, stereotypes and social norms that perpetuate all forms  of GBV including child marriages.

She also said that there is more need to be done to make an end to child marriage and GBV.

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Zimbabwe, child marriage is also driven by poverty where daughters are sometimes married off to reduce their perceived economic burden, with their bride price (lobola) used by families as a means of survival.

However, religion can also be a drive to child marriages where members of the indigenous apostolic church reportedly encourage girls as young as ten to marry much older men for “spiritual guidance”. Men in the church are reportedly entitled to marry girls to shield them from pre-marital sex.

More so, some are falling in child marriages because of traditional customs whereby virginity testing is still being practiced in parts of Zimbabwe by the apostolic church. Girls who are found to no longer be virgins are shamed into wearing a mark on their forehead and are required to find another virgin for their husband to marry as compensation