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Aleshina vs Biti – A win for Zimbabwean women

Tatiana Aleshina

For the Culture

Aleshina vs Biti – A win for Zimbabwean women

One of the most undermined forms of abuse is verbal abuse.

Tatiana Aleshina

Tatiana Aleshina

Four years ago, Tatiana Aleshina a prominent business woman was verbally assaulted by Tendai Biti a lawyer and at that time Member of the House of Assembly, and after a four-year legal battle, she has finally received justice.

In 2020, Biti verbally assaulted Tatiana Aleshina in the corridors of the Magistrates Court making derogatory remarks that injured her personality.

Aleshina did not take the assault lightly as she proceeded to make a police report leading to the protracted court battle.

She felt she had been attacked because she is a woman. Under no circumstances is it ever justified to abuse women. Gender violence takes many forms and it takes the injured party to realise they have been violated.

Gender based violence (GBV) is a serious public health and human rights issue that requires global attention and action. Less than 40 percent of the women who experience violence seek help of some sort. This is mainly due to fear of retribution and sometimes a lack of faith in the judicial system.

There are many forms of abuse and all of them are equally traumatic for the survivors. One of the most undermined forms of abuse is verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is, “also known as emotional abuse, is a range of words or behaviours used to manipulate, intimidate, and maintain power and control over someone. These include insults, humiliation and ridicule, the silent treatment, and attempts to scare, isolate, and control.”

According to UN Women Globally, an estimated 736 million women—almost one in three—have been subjected to physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life (30% of women aged 15 and older). This figure does not include sexual harassment. Imagine that and take into consideration that these numbers are likely underestimated, as many cases of GBV go unreported.

It was a huge win for Zimbabwean women when the Magistrate ruled in favour of Tatiana Aleshina, because it demonstrated that perpetrators of assault can be held accountable and that no one is above the law. This ruling can deter future acts of violence and signal a shift towards a society that takes these crimes seriously. It also shows that the justice system is unrelenting and demonstrating that gender-based crimes will not go unpunished.

As we are nearing International Women’s Day, this high-profile case means so much to the fight for women’s rights in Zimbabwe. It also sets the pace for the rest of the citizens in Zimbabwe because it gives more women inspiration to speak out against abuse.

Seeing survivors get justice sends a powerful message that women can and will fight back, encouraging others to come forward and advocate for change.

Also, seeing this case demonstrated that pursuing legal recourse is possible and, even if it is difficult, long and tedious, there is hope for justice. This verdict is a step towards holding perpetrators accountable and making communities safer for women.

In light of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “inspire inclusion”, this case illustrates some of the issues that deter women from pursuing political careers. If we are to inspire inclusion of women in Zimbabwean politics, it means creating a conducive and safe environment for them to be able to thrive without fear.

We applaud Aleshina for taking this head on and maintaining her ground. We hope she sought the professional help and counselling required to cope with the trauma of this whole ordeal.

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iNgudukazi Magazine is a publication for the African woman. We know she is a jewel and a fountain of wisdom and we would like to celebrate her reverence. For the culture of woman.

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