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GBV on the increase in Western Province

KELVIN MBEWE, Lusaka
THE number of women victims of gender-based violence in Western Province has increased from 1,118 in 2014 to 1,161 this year.
Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) regional co-ordinator Sandra Maputa attributed the increase to cultural beliefs and the women’s dependence on men for survival.
“Women in Western Province believe men should take care of their families without much input from them (women).
“This has caused a lot of women to be abused in all kinds of ways. Some traditional leaders have also openly said it is right to beat women by their husbands,” she said.
Ms Maputa said most women in the province have accepted the belief that men must beat their spouses to show that they love them.
“The problem we have in Western Province is that most of our women think that when they are beaten by their husbands, it means they are loved,” she said.
Ms Maputa said some men have also been abused by women, but the number cannot be compared to that of women.
“From January to date only 22 men have visited our drop-in centre to lodge their complaints, but the number is far less than that of women who come to complain,” she said.
Ms Maputa said YWCA only refers the victims to other organisations because it lacks funding to carry out rehabilitation programmes.
“Previously, we used to train the victims in entrepreneurship skills and we used to give them startup capital for them to be self-reliant, but because we don’t have funding all we do is refer them to other organisations where they can get help,” she said.

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