The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) says it will create women-only spaces that will allow women who were affected during the Gukurahundi atrocities to fully express themselves when the public hearings start.
NPRC is yet to start public hearings on the 1980s atrocities with surviving victims expected to give testimonies on what transpired during the genocide.
Speaking at the Commission’s multi-stakeholder meeting last week, Commissioner Netty Musanhu said women are the most affected in times of conflict.
“In all our conflict episodes, women have been the most affected, so through the victim support, gender and diversity committee we will have women only spaces where women are going to engage.
“Women in Matabeleland and Midlands were raped, emotionally abused during Gukurahundi hence the Commission said safe spaces for engagement would be availed to these women.
“Even as we talk about Gukurahundi, women were disproportionally affected and a lot of how they were affected are issues that cannot be said in public, so we are going to create spaces where these women are going to participate,” said Musanhu.
She said the safer engagement spaces for women was NPRC’s priority for 2019.
Comm Musanhu said stakeholders had to guide the commission on how to effectively engage with women as they deal with them on daily basis.
“A lot of these cases are very contextual. Go to Chiredzi for example, if you call these meetings, you find only older women because of young women’s reproductive roles.
“How do you then make sure that women in their diversity are involved in these spaces”?
Commissioner Leslie Ncube said the commission is victim centered hence the safety of women was key.
“This issue involves victims. A woman who was raped cannot stand up in some forum and confess because she is now married somewhere else.
“She may also not be comfortable speaking in front of a male commissioner and also maybe the person who raped her is part of the commission,” highlighted Comm Ncube.