Zimbabwe joins the world in observing the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence from November 25 (International Day against violence against women) to December the 10th, human rights day. With violent incidents in general on the rise in Zimbabwe, it has not gone unnoticed that escalation is also evident in violence against women and girls. Deone Dingwiza is a woman on a mission through her business Unassailable which provides products, lessons and resources for women to combat violence. She gave us some of her time to talk about the business, her passion and the landscape of personal security.
Unassailable is a security company that makes security personal. They offer a wide range of security-related products that include self-defence kits, self-defence gadgets and professional self-defence classes with martial artists and fitness trainers. The unfortunate thing about violence and violent incidents are that they are very hard to pre-empt. The goal of Unassailable is to give women and girls the tools and skills that can help prevent or mitigate the impact of violent incidents on them.
What I found impressive was that in addition to all the above mentioned they also offer counselling services for victims through the Unassailable Women Support Group. They offer this service free of charge. We’ve noted before how Zimbabwe favours Zebra businesses or double bottom line businesses; businesses that have both a profit motive and social upliftment motive that works in tandem with the profit motive. Unassailable gives us another good example of a Zebra business taking root and finding its feet in Zimbabwe.
Born of passion
Unassailable is a young business that was established in May 2021. “I started Unassailable after realising that there was a rise in the number of gender-based violence cases world over amidst the pandemic and it dawned on me that women are generally not safe. And it’s absurd that most women have had to increase their pace when walking past a group of men, or when some random guy was walking behind them. Many women have also experienced some form of sexual and physical abuse performed mostly by those closest to them“, says Deone Dingwiza with palpable passion. The numbers speak for themself as even in the corridors of parliament and cabinet the Ministers have noted this increase in domestic violence cases during the hard lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. This is not a purely Zimbabwean phenomenon with many countries in Africa at least finding the same results.
As mentioned before Unassailable does a lot of different work. The team currently stands at 8 members including the martial artists and psychologists. Violence of any kind is a traumatic experience and affects people in more ways than just physically. Taking care of the psychological side of things shows just how passionate Deone and her team are in dealing with the issues around violence holistically.
Being a business that is rare if not unique in its focus on personal security for women they have the pleasure of operating without obvious competition. This has given the business some room to grow. By focusing on an underserved niche they have created their space in the market. Uptake for their business is also fairly smooth according to Deone with women, in general, being aware of the threat of violence and keen to engage them. Though they serve women only Unassailable has a staff that is comprised of both men and women.
Violence against women impoverishes individuals, families, communities and countries. The social, political and economic costs of allowing this to continue unabated are great and call for a commensurate investment in women’s security.
Unassailable also examines many forms and manifestations of violence against women in a wide range of settings, including the family, the community, armed conflict and situations involving internally displaced persons (IDPs). Most cases often take a direct physical form, but can also involve psychological abuse and this is one of the reasons why we decided to give back to the community through our women’s support group. 60% of Unassailable product purchases are channelled towards having a halfway home for victims who are incapacitated to fend for themselves after fleeing from the abuser/perpetrator. This will not only help give them a fresh start to life but also help other women speak up and report any form of abuse without the fear of ending up homeless.
“You can never be too safe in this unpredictable world. The best advice is to always be prepared both mentally and physically with self-defence weapons and tactics. Even if you’re prepared, anything can happen at any time in any place. So what do we do? We give ourselves the best chance of survival by arming ourselves with the most modern, practical, effective self-defence weapons on the market today.” Deone Dingwiza
To find out more about Unassailable you can find them in the following places (click on links)
Facebook: unassailable _zw
Call/WhatsApp: +263 772 817 517
The issues that Unassailable deals with are serious and affect many people and entire communities. It was a pleasure to speak to Deone and learn more about the business and most importantly the drive behind it.