Religion, Women, and Girls’ Rights in Zimbabwe: the Case of Zimbabwe’s Johanne Marange Apostolic Church
Journal of Human Rights and Social Work
The study sought to understand the position of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church on women and girls’ rights in Zimbabwe. Engaging in this study came out of the realization that women and girls’ rights are compromised in religious settings and the issue goes on unreported. Deploying a qualitative research methodology framework buttressed by the gendered human rights–based theoretical approach, the study collected empirical evidence through semi-structured in-depth interviews as well as participant observation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty participants — fifteen young women and five males. All the twenty participants were members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church. Snowball sampling was used in selecting the participants. It was established that the church doctrine within the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church provides a conducive environment for the abuse of women and the girl child under the guise of ‘sacredness’ of the religious sect. This has been and is still going on unchecked. The study concluded that abuse cases through forced and teen marriages to older men are facilitated by both adult men and women and is highly safeguarded within religious cultism. The study recommends that the government and non-state actors need to enhance child protection services and programmes in religious settings for the purpose of protecting and removing the vulnerabilities of girls within the church by prosecuting perpetrators.
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