‘Tragedy within the new normal’: Catechizing the surge in intimate partner violence in Zimbabwe during the Covid 19 pandemic. Is home a safe haven?
Keywords:Gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, Covid 19 pandemic, lockdown, Zimbabwe
This paper explores dynamics surrounding the Covid 19 pandemic which triggered a surge in cases of intimate partner violence. In the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic, Zimbabwe enacted a national lockdown and various protocols to contain the spread of the lethal virus. The impact of the Covid 19 pandemic was felt by many as the national lockdowns embroiled people’s lives socially and economically. Using a descriptive interpretive design, the study reviewed reports on gender-based violence from the media and organisations dealing with gender-based violence pre and during the Covid 19 pandemic to gather data. The paper examines violence in intimate relationships from an intersectional feminist perspective which views gender-based violence as twofold and caused by patriarchy together with other repressive factors. The study revealed that economic challenges, limited access to support services and prolonged enclosure at home experienced during the Covid s19 pandemic were key factors fuelling relational violence amongst intimate partners. Therefore, the paper proposes vigorous campaign strategies against intimate partner violence and an increase in socio-economic support services for citizens during the Covid 19 pandemic to curtail intimate partner violence.