The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association (ZWLA) has urged all women who have been, or are going through any form of abuse in the name of religion to speak out so that the perpetrators could be brought to book.
In a statement, ZWLA said it has been appalled to hear that some pastors had a history of abusing women and girls in churches they have turned into cults.
ZWLA said a church was meant to be a congregation of people who believed in and worshiped God, and meet to study the word of God and not what was now transpiring where pastors abused congregants in the guise of religion.
“We take this opportunity to remind every citizen of Zimbabwe that the new Constitution provides for the right to human dignity, which includes the right to freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sources,” part of the statement reads.
“In as much as the same Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it is fundamental that religious institutions provide freedom from all forms of violence in pursuing their religious doctrines and practices.
“ZWLA urges all women who have been, or are going through any form of abuse in the name of religion to speak out and break the silence.
“Speaking out will help bring perpetrators to book and restore dignity to women within the church,” the statement reads.
ZWLA’s outcry follows media reports that RMG Independent End Time Message leader Robert Gumbura allegedly abused nine women and girls in his church.
He was reportedly telling them that all women belong to him.
They said Gumbura’s actions were an indication of what was happening in churches whose doctrines we are not clear, and where worshipers rely on the “man of God” for revelation and understanding and rarely on what the Bible itself says.
ZWLA said such perceptions about pastors clearly indicates that the church has turned into a place where women’s rights are grossly abused.