Southern Africa has recorded some of the highest cases of gender-based violence (GBV), A study conducted by the SADC Secretariat the situation and status of GBV in its member states, for the period 2010-2017/18, GBV is a common phenomenon in the region, with some countries reflecting up to 70% prevalence. Prevalence rates of physical and sexual violence were up to 34.4%. 25.5% respectively. Emotional violence was between 15.9% to 36.5%. Even with the existence of several international and regional instruments, and various national legal and policy frameworks for the protection of women and girls’ rights, there are still daunting challenges in the prevention of GBV in the region. In recent times, this has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which has further increased the incidence of GBV. This situation is worrisome and requires additional impetus by all governments and local partners to provide better mechanisms for protecting women and girls through coordinated and well-funded responses for the prevention of GBV at all levels of society.
This paper provides information on GBV in five Southern African Countries, namely Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. The paper reviews the status of GBV in the five countries with a focus on the prevalence rates, and the types of GBV and their causes. It also presents the levels of commitment to address GBV through legal and policy measures, and advocacy. Finally, it highlights past and present interventions that have been implemented to address GBV and makes some recommendations on how the respective governments can improve implementation to effectively address and fight GBV.