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COVID-19 lockdown creates room for sexual abuse says LEAD

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LEAD National Women’s Council secretary-general Bertha Muzvidzwa says there is need for transparency and accountability from responsible authorities to ensure abuses will not take place during distribution of COVID-19 goods.

Some privileged people in Zimbabwe especially those tasked with the distribution of aid have tended to abuse women and girls as was the case in Chimanimani during the Cyclone Idai crisis.

In a statement, Muzvidzwa said there is evidence backed by research that some perpetrators take advantage of a crisis such as the one prevailing in Zimbabwe to abuse women and girls.

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“Much research has already been carried out on how perpetrators use times of crisis to lure victims and keep the cycle of sex for survival thriving over the years.

“With many myths already circulating on COVID-19, shortage of basic foodstuffs, as well as general fear, women and children stand vulnerable to abuse.

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“Accountability and transparency in the distribution of medications and funds to the Zimbabwean community must be adhered to by every peace-loving Zimbabwean,” she said.

Muzvidzwa also blamed the government for not considering issues of domestic violence when they instituted the lockdown adding that some people are currently in a lockdown with their abusers with nowhere to run to.

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“Not every home is a happy one. As it is, someone right now is going through an assault from their spouse and there is no support system.

“A child is being raped and unable to report for fear of being reprimanded by officials manning the streets. There is a bigger threat than COVID-19 yet nowhere to turn to because domestic violence has not been considered with the seriousness it deserves during the lockdown,” she said.

LEAD also called on the government to ensure there is support for mental wellness adding that the current lockdown does not do well for one’s mentality as it brings the thoughts of fear among many other things.

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“It is easy to lose one’s mind when closed in and have no control over what is happening. The very human resource that is the creative imagination required for survival is threatened by anxious thoughts and fear of the unknown during the lockdown and the Covid19 crisis.

“Do we have organizations with the mandate to support mental wellness that has been able to reach suffering audiences? Get all COVID-19 statistics for Zimbabwe from COVID-TRACKER

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is the news editor for OpenParlyZW an online platform that covers Parliament of Zimbabwe activities using social media (Twitter and Facebook). He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum and a board member of Digital Communication Network.

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