Changing Laws, Changing Lives
Ending gender-based violence in Mozambique
Survivors of gender-based violence in Mozambique face challenges in accessing legal justice and support. Formal justice structures are inaccessible, especially in remote areas. And informal procedures are too often rooted in attitudes and practices that discriminate against women.
Since 2008, Oxfam has partnered with women’s rights organizations in Mozambique through Fórum Mulher, a national network of over 80 women’s rights organizations. Forum Mulher’s main objectives are to promote women’s rights, gender equality, and campaigns for changes in national policies that discriminate against women.
Gender Violence Act:
LANDMARK LAW FOR WOMEN IN MOZAMBIQUE
Oxfam supported Fórum Mulher in building and coordinating a network of rural and urban women’s organizations to advocate for passage of the Gender Violence Act in Mozambique.
In 2009, the Mozambican National Assembly passed the Gender Violence Act. It was grondbreaking. For the first time, women survivors of domestic violence had legal grounds for protection.
The Gender Violence Act:
- outlaws violence against women and recognizes domestic violence as a crime
- criminalizes rape by a husband, current or former partner
- acknowledges rape as a psychological, moral and economic act of violence.
The impact of the law for Mozambican women has been tremendous.
In 2010 alone, 10,000 women came forward to the police to speak out about their experiences with domestic violence.
Between 2011 and 2013, Oxfam and Fórum Mulher worked together to respond to this outpouring by supporting organizations to develop the resources needed to assist survivors at the community level.
AMUDEIA Care Centre for survivors of Gender-Based Violence
With the new law came a backlash against organizations like AMUDEIA (the Association of Disadvantaged Women), a rural women’s organization which runs a care center for women survivors of gender-based violence. Many survivors of violence are pressured by family, colleagues and neighbors to withdraw complaints.
But AMUDEIA activists are undaunted. They make home visits and participate in trial sessions, so that survivors never have to stand alone. Where they face opposition from community leaders, they take steps to include those leaders in their activities.
Oxfam is currently supporting and providing training for members of the Fórum Mulher network to develop innovative ways to address the underlying causes of violence. Approaches include working with men and boys, developing women’s leadership and self-confidence, establishing systems in communities and schools.
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