A Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender based organisation called Gender Links says Zambia has the highest prevalence rate of gender based violence (GBV ) in the Southern African region.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer Kubi Rama says according to research conducted by her organisation in four countries in the sub region, it was discovered that the country ranks high at 90 per cent among five other SADC countries.
According to the baseline study in which women confirmed being victims or subjects of violence in their life time, Zimbabwe trails Zambia in second place at 69 per cent and Mauritius has the least prevalence rate at 23 per cent.
Other countries in the baseline study are Lesotho at 62 per cent, Botswana at 60 per cent, and South Africa at 42 per cent.
Ms. Kama stated that the studies have since been extended to the other six provinces in Zambia in order to establish a national prevalence rate by May 2014.
She said the most predominant form of gender based violence experienced by women and perpetrated by men occurs within intimate partner relationships.
She said abused women endure and opt to remain in abusive relationships because of their inherent economic dependency on their abusive perpetrators.
Ms. Kama said her organisation had since developed an entrepreneurship training programme that will be rolled out in 100 councils in ten Southern African countries to economically empower the survivors of gender based violence.
She implored on governments and stakeholders to shift focus away from response and campaigns to scale up strategic preventive measures that focus on behavioural change.
Ms. Kama also disclosed that the 2014 SADC Gender Protocol Summit will be cascaded to district level in the ten SADC countries to strengthen the reach and impact of the SADC Protocol.