500 men receive GBV counselling 

Source: 500 men receive GBV counselling –Newsday Zimbabwe

CLOSE to 500 men have approached the Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum for counselling this year, with economic and emotional abuse cited as reasons for their involvement in gender-based violence (GBV).

Police this week revealed that a staggering 16 444 cases and 31 deaths of women were recorded since January with men cited as the major perpetrators.

National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi revealed that 2 463 cases of abused men were also recorded this year.

Padare/Enkuhleni Men’s Forum programmes officer Meseli Nyoni told NewsDay Weekender on the sidelines of the commemorations organised by the Harare City Council this week that 483 men received counselling between January and December this year.

The commemorations were held with the main thrust of mobilising women, men and young children to support gender equality, while increasing awareness of gender transformative services.

“Men are abused as a result of failing to support the family and are deprived of their conjugal rights,” Nyoni said.

However, Adult Rape Clinic psychologist Kusowa Kanganisai said the majority of victims of rape are women and minors with a large number ranging from 0-15-year olds.

“It is very rare for men to report cases of rape particularly due to the patriarchal nature of the society condemning them as not brave enough. Men who come to report are minors who are brought by their relatives,” Kanganisai said.

He said rape victims suffered psychological trauma.

“Victims of rape need a social support system from the community they come from, for example, their family. As long as the environment is the trigger of the distress, the social system has to be looked into. Most of the rape cases recorded, relatives are the perpetrators,” he said.

Kanganisai also appealed to the communities to report rape cases instead of negotiating with perpetrators in their communities.

Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development provincial development officer Ernest Chimboza appealed to traditional and religious leaders to play a pivotal role in the prevention of GBV and some harmful practices.

“Some members of the society have taken to abusing young children sexually in the name of fulfilling certain cultural and religious practices,” he said.

“ZimStat [Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency] 2022 Census revealed that 133 455 women aged 20-24 years were married off before attaining the age of 18, which showed that child marriages remain outlawed in the country,” Chimboza said.

He said the increase in child marriages and cases of death of young girls while giving birth was unacceptable.

“What is more disheartening to note is that in most cases parents or close relatives are found at the centre either as perpetrators or as facilitators of the abuse,” he said.

“It is very worrying to find out that the same parents who are expected to ensure protection of the children are becoming perpetrators of violence, thus presenting a very complex situation in dealing with abuse of minors.”

The Marriages Act Chapter 5:17 outlawed child marriages by pegging the age of marriage at 18 and criminalised child marriages.