May 6, 2021

Water shortages expose women, girls to abuse

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Munashe Mukahlera

A human rights watchdog says women and girls in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, are more vulnerable to abuse at community water points, due to scarcity of water in the city.

The city has grappled with water shortages for the past couple of years. A survey carried out by the Matabeleland Human Rights Institute, released on Wednesday, at Bulawayo’s alternative water points revealed that children, girls and women were attacked while collecting water at boreholes and wells.

The survey was conducted in 10 suburbs which include Mzilikazi and parts of Makokoba, Lobengula, Luveve, Magwegwe and Cowdray Park.

Matabeleland Institute For Human Rights Coordinator, Khumbulani Maphosa told ZTN News that the victims were mainly children, young women and adult women.

“The study revealed that 73% of them faced insults, 66% faced shoving, 23% fights. 11% said they heard of other women and girls that were raped at alternative water points. The main perpetrators are young men, 92% and young women 56%. “We also asked if they know of any mechanism to solve water conflicts and 54% of them said they do not know of any,” he said.

Over the years, the city of Bulawayo has been facing serious water shortages and people have had to resort to alternative water access points.

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