Original Research

COVID-19 and intimate partner violence in Zimbabwe: Towards being church in situations of gender-based violence from a public pastoral care perspective

Vhumani Magezi, Peter Manzanga
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2658 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2658 | © 2020 Vhumani Magezi, Peter Manzanga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 July 2020 | Published: 15 December 2020

About the author(s)

Vhumani Magezi, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the SA Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Peter Manzanga, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the SA Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

The COVID-19 global pandemic negatively transformed social, religious and economic life globally. Countries implemented national lockdowns among other measures to mitigate against the spread of the pandemic. Zimbabwe is among the countries that pronounced a national lockdown. The national lockdown accelerated the already existing gender-based violence (GBV) scourge. GBV manifested in various forms especially by people that are intimate partners to the victims. The new environment caused by COVID-19 has proven that intimate partner violence (IPV) remains one of the key causes of GBV. Written from a public pastoral care perspective, this article examines the COVID-19 pandemic national lockdown in Zimbabwe and how it provided a convenient environment for the acceleration of IPV. The church is caught unaware, and its role is barely visible as a key microcosm of society. in a view of this, the following three questions emerge: first, what does it mean to be church in a real GBV situation caused by COVID-19?; second, what public pastoral care roles could the church frame to mitigate GBV by IPV in the COVID-19 situation?; and third, how could such public pastoral care responsive roles impact the broader community by not being exclusively church based? The article seeks to address these questions by, first, providing the introduction and background to COVID-19 and GBV in Zimbabwe. Second, it discusses IPV as a key form of GBV and its implications on COVID-19 national lockdown environment. Third, it analyses what it means to be church in an environment of COVID-19. Fourth, it proposes some public pastoral responsive care roles by the church with a transformative impact on the broader community and provides a conclusion.

Keywords

COVID-19 and church; intimate partner violence (IVP); gender-based violence (GBV); GBV and church in Zimbabwe; public pastoral care; pastoral care and community.

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