Abuse of women under the guise of religion

Religious and cultural beliefs, coupled with mobility bottlenecks, have been cited as major challenges militating against our attempts to reach out to as many marginalised young women and girls as possible in Mashonaland Central province. Members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church, dominate areas such as Madziwa in Shamva district, Musara, Trojan Mine and Guruve. Young women and girls are denied education, medical treatments and attending workshops such as those offered by IYWD on the basis of religious beliefs. In a number of the communities we have worked in, young women from this church have been denied permission to attend our meetings. The Johanne Marange Apostolic Church is widely seen as a deceptive and secretive community that does not go public about its issues as a result the few young women we managed to talk to preferred to remain     anonymous. One woman said that she got married to her husband who is a member of the church and was whipped  to follow the church’s doctrines .She had a steady educational background before   marrying this man with outstanding Advanced level grades but because women are not allowed to be learn and or work but just to remain housewives she cannot make anything out of her qualifications. “I would have loved to pursue teaching had I been granted the opportunity but because we are not allowed to do so there is nothing I can do”. Another young woman in the area was cautioned by her husband after she received an IYWD flyer from a member. Such oppressive and discriminatory acts contravene the Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms accorded to everyone in our constitution, particularly right to equality and non-discrimination, right to education, right to health, the right to freedom of association, freedom of conscience and access to information.Members of this church often have large families mostly because they do not use any form of contraceptives, a dangerous practice that poses health hazards to the women also as they are not allowed to go to hospitals.   . The children are also extremely disadvantaged and vulnerable, growing up in large families, not accorded access to education and health.

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