Culture and choice: lessons from survivors of gender violence in Zimbabwe.

Armstrong AK
Harare, Zimbabwe, Violence Against Women in Zimbabwe Research Project, [1998]. 149 p.

This book discusses gender violence in the cultural context of Zimbabwe, based on the 200 case experiences and views of survivors. Divided into six chapters, this book assists nongovernmental organizations, the government, and institutions to devise locally appropriate strategies and programs in preventing gender violence and helping its victims. Chapter 1 focuses on the immediate causes of beating incidents, particularly the social, cultural, and gender causes of battering. Chapter 2 will consider factors which constrain women from seeking help and/or leaving a relationship, and which triggers them to seek help and/or leave. In the third chapter, the focus is on the interaction between the family and the criminal law in providing help for the battered women. The fourth chapter attempts to answer the difficult question “Why do men rape?” by looking at the issue of consent and the cultural silencing of women's expression of sexuality. Chapter 5 discusses a climate of sexual harassment, which contributes to rape, and also to other ways in which women's sexual choices are limited but which do not amount to “rape” according to the law. Finally, chapter 6 discusses the solutions sought by families and survivors of sexual violence at the community and state level.

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