Gender-based violence and property grabbing in Africa: a denial of women’s liberty and security
Property grabbing is a new form of gendered violence against women, threatening the security of women across Southern and East Africa. Forced evictions are often accompanied by further acts of violence, including physical and mental harassment, and abuse. Widows are particularly vulnerable, partly as a result of weakened customary practice and social safety nets that used to provide support to widowed women and their children, a situation made worse by the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Defending their property has cost some women their lives, while other women have lost their shelter and source of livelihoods, and have become destitute. The harassment and humiliation that often accompany property grabbing further strip women of their self-esteem, affecting their ability to defend their rights.
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