Columnists

Men’s involvement key to ending GBV

SHIKANDA Kawanga.

Analysis: SHIKANDA KAWANGA
AS ZAMBIA joins the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV), men should rise up to actively participate in fighting the vice, which mostly affects women and children.
The 16 days of activism against GBV run from November 25 to December 10 annually and this year’s commemoration is dubbed Orange the World: #HearMeToo.
It is a known fact that there are more men in higher positions in the country and as such should be involved in ending GBV for the campaign to yield positive results.
This is why every well-meaning Zambian should know that it is a won battle if concerted efforts are made by those in power and a 50-50 planet by 2030 can be achievable.
To augment this, the regional director for the Arab States for the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, Mohammad Naciri, said the fight for gender equality is a fight that should not be fought by women, but by men for women and with women.
Many anti-abuse advocates will agree that the need for all men to have an inner conviction to fight GBV even when a friend is a culprit cannot be over-emphasised.
This is because all people in relations are potential victims as tables turn and relations turn sour to an extent where intimate partners hurt each other as though they were never love birds.
In case one would wonder what would give a man the urge to fight against a fellow man, the reason is as simple as an imagination of a sister, mother or close relation undergoing the same in the hands of another man.
This is why men should be engaged in national dialogues which focus on GBV-related issues as it is critical for men to get involved not just as legislators, or in terms of judiciary, but as role models.
Once that is done, we will start seeing a difference on how men relate to women.
It is for this reason that men should be engaged as active allies and partners so that they develop gender-based violence (GBV) programmes that include prevention, as well as survivor services.
Stakeholder collaborations in mobilising men and boys of all ages to take a stand against violence towards women and children as well as to foster equality and gender solidarity should be supported.
Shockingly, the fight against GBV has been undertaken for a long time yet the Zambia Police Service still records heart-breaking statistics.
Recently, Zambia Police public relations officer Esther Katongo released the 2018 third quarter gender-based violence statistics, which shows, that women and children are still the major victims.
The report states that the Zambia Police recorded 6,114 cases of GBV countrywide during the third quarter of 2018 compared to 5,096 recorded during the same period in 2017 showing an increase by 1,018, translating to 16.7 percent.
A total of 664 cases of child defilement were recorded representing 10.9 percent of the total reported cases out of which three cases were against boys while 661 were against girls.
Lusaka Province recorded the highest number of child defilement cases with 320 translating to 48.2 percent of the child defilement cases reported countrywide, Southern Province recorded 73 cases translating to 11 percent, followed by Central Province with 63 cases or 9.5 percent, Eastern Province had 60 cases or 9 percent, and Copperbelt Province recorded 49 cases translating to 7.4 percent.
Western and North-Western provinces had 29 cases, each translating to 4.4 percent, Muchinga had 17 cases or 2.6 percent, Luapula had 14 cases or 2.1 percent, with the rest of the provinces recording less than 10 cases each.
On sexual offences, the country recorded 37 cases of indecent assault translating to 0.6 percent of the total reported GBV cases out of which two were against male adults, 26 against female adults and nine against girls; 12 cases of incest acts involving six female adults and six girls were reported countrywide.
24 GBV-related murder cases were reported translating to 0.4 percent of the total reported cases out of which 11 victims were female adults representing 45.8 percent, five were male adults, and also five girls translating to 20.8 percent while three were boys.
486 cases were for failing to provide in homes while neglecting to provide food and other basic necessities for children had 200 reports translating to 3.3 percent.
A comparison with the third quarter of 2017, 416 defilement cases were reported compared to 664 in 2018 third quarter translating to an increase of 248 cases or 37.3 percent.
There were 1,644 cases of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in 2017, during the period under review, compared to 2,094 in 2018 and this indicates an increase by 450 or 21.5 percent.
17 GBV-related murder cases were reported in the third quarter of 2017 compared to 24 cases in third quarter of 2018 showing an increase by seven cases translating to 29.2 percent.
According to the continued escalation of GBV statistics, this retrogressive vice should be recognised as a community issue.
If GBV cases remain marginalised and ignored as a women’s issue and as a domestic issue, the vice might not be eradicated.
Men should be involved at all costs because they are the major culprits of violent acts against women and children.
A country cannot develop with the majority of its population living in fear of violence; this is why this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, should create an inner conviction in men that they must contribute immensely to the fight against any forms of abuse that women and children go through.
The author is a photojournalist and writer.

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