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Do not be perpetrators of GBV

KELVIN

Analysis: KELVIN ESIASA
THE reported video of men abusing a woman in Kafue is disheartening and one wonders if those men in the video were okay or were mad. As Zambia’s First Lady Esther Lungu puts it, the act of the men in the video is barbaric.
According to the media, Mrs Lungu broke down after explaining how she felt when she saw the video of the woman who was severely beaten, stripped naked and sexually abused by unruly men.
I agree with madam Lungu that sexual violence against children and women does not only threaten national development but is also a stumbling block to the proper growth and development of children and women.
It is very sad that many Zambians are not learning from events that have continued to paralyse our communities with gender-based violence. In 2013, Gender Links revealed that Zambia had the highest cases of gender-based violence (GBV) in Southern Africa. Gender Links board member Sarah Longwe said this was so because of violent acts perpetrated by most men in Zambia.
But this has not changed. In February 2016 the Zambia Police Service reported that there was an increase of 16.2 percent in the number of gender-based violence cases reported throughout the country in 2015 compared to 2014.
A total number of 18,088 cases were reported in 2015 while 2014 had 15,153 cases. Topping the list of cases reported were 6,205 assault occasioning actual bodily harm, 2,759 defilement cases and 1,569 cases of neglecting to provide and 1,378 failing to provide.
So what is GBV? It is the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, along with the unequal power relationships between the two genders, within the context of a specific society.
There are various types of GBV. Domestic violence is rampant in many communities. The pattern consists of a variety of abusive acts, occurring in multiple episodes over the course of the relationship.
Some episodes consist of a sustained attack with one tactic repeated many times (e.g. punching), combined with a variety of other tactics (such as name-calling, threats, or attacks against property).
Other episodes consist of a single act (e.g., a slap, a “certain look”). One tactic (e.g. physical assault) may be used infrequently, while other types of abuse (such as name-calling or intimidating gestures) may be used daily.
Physical abuse may include spitting, scratching, biting, grabbing, shaking, shoving, pushing, restraining, throwing, twisting, slapping (with open or closed hand), punching, choking, burning, and/or use of weapons (e.g. household objects, knives, guns) against the survivor. The physical assaults may or may not cause injuries.
Sexual violence can take many forms and takes place under very different circumstances. A person can be sexually violated by one individual or several people (e.g. gang-rapes); the incident may be planned or it may be a surprise attack. Although sexual violence occurs most commonly in the survivor’s home (or in the perpetrator’s home), it also takes place in many other settings, such as the workplace, at school, in prisons, cars, the streets or open spaces (e.g. parks, farmland).
The perpetrator of a sexual assault may be a date, an acquaintance, a friend, a family member, an intimate partner or former intimate partner, or a complete stranger, but more often than not, it is someone known to the survivor.
There is no stereotypical perpetrator; sexually violent men come from all backgrounds, rich and poor, academic and uneducated, religious and non-religious.
Therefore, there is need for the community to work out mechanisms on how everyone should be involved in combating GBV. The story of the Kafue woman is just one of the cases that would be going behind our eyes.
The author is president – Zambia Society for Public Administration and Society for Family Business.

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