Features

Sexual abuse victims should break silence to get help

AMBASSADORS of the ‘Every Hour Matters’ campaign

KAPALA CHISUNKA, Lusaka
ONE could have heard a pin drop as a woman on a video recording narrated her ordeal of sexual assault.
Tendai Mutale, a survivor of sexual assault, recounted her chilling torment about how she was repeatedly raped.
Tendai recounted how despite being raped continuously, she opted to remain silent about the abuse.
Eventually, however, when the abuse became unbearable, Tendai decided to tell her mother.
Instead of sympathy and understanding from her mother, Tendai received the opposite.
“My mother did not believe my story. That led to start questioning myself. ‘Why was it happening to me? Why don’t people believe the things I am telling them’,” she narrated.
Not one to be discouraged by her mother’s reaction, she took another brave step and decided to reveal the sexual assault to her friend and she was referred to a one-stop centre where she underwent counselling.
After counselling, Tendai slowly began to heal and decided to break the culture of silence that surrounds sexual gender-based violence (GBV).
Tendai’s video ran at the launch of ‘Every Hour Matters’ Campaign; a global campaign to raise awareness and spark action around the critical need for post-rape care.
Tendai is brave but there are some sexual GBV survivors who prefer to suffer in silence for fear of, among other reasons, not being believed by family members, friends or being ridiculed and stigmatised.
World Vision Zambia, with support from other co-operating partners launched the ‘Every Hour Matters’ campaign in Lusaka which raises awareness among community members on the need to report sexual GBV within the 72 and 120 hour in order to access post exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection and Emergence Contraceptive (EC) to prevent pregnancy.
The organisation has been working with Government to establish 16 one stop centres in health facilities for survivors of GBV access post GBV care.
From the current project data from the 16 districts, less than 40 percent of all survivors of sexual GBV report on time at one stop centres or health facilities to access PEP and EC.
This means that most sexual GBV survivors risk getting infected with HIV.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Jabbin Mulwanda noted that GBV is a key driver of HIV transmission as well as a barrier to health positive out-comes.
In view of the high rate of partner violence, survivors of GBV require care.
“GBV negatively affects all aspects of women’s health; physical, sexual, reproductive and mental behaviour, thus the importance of the work of World Vision in establishing one-stop centres at health facilities,” he said.
Dr Mulwanda said the higher the level of violence, the greater the impact on the victim’s health.
World Vison chief of party Annie Banda said in her presentation that according to the 2013-2014 Zambia Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS), 47 percent of married women between the age of 15-49 have experienced violence from their current or most recent husband or partner.
“ Out of the over 65, 000 reported GBV cases, 10 percent are sexual GBV, 82 percent of all the sexual GBV reported are perpetrated against children. Out of all types of GBV perpetrated against persons with disability, 32 percent are sexual in nature,” Ms Banda said.
Ms Banda said with support from PEPFAR through USAID and UKAID through DfID, World Vision has been implementing the Stamping Out and Preventing GBV Survivor Support project (STOP GBVSS) since October 2012.
The goal of the project is to increase the availability and uptake of quality services for adult and child survivors of GBV. The goal of the project is to increase the availability and uptake of quality services for adult and child survivors of GBV.
“GBVSS project has supported Government with systems strengthening activities to enhance post GBV care access by survivors. As of June 2017, the project had facilitated provision of post GBV care of 61, 338 survivors,” she said.
The low success rate in the provision of PEP and EC to survivors is affected by a range of social and economic factors including lack of information on the importance of reporting these cases within the required 72 hours.
GBVSS has planned to use the ‘Every Hour Matters’ campaign to address the knowledge gap that exists on the importance of reporting sexual GBV cases within 72 hours.
GBVSS project will implement ‘Every Hour Matters’ campaign in partnership with the Prevention and Advocacy project under ZCCP and male engagement activities under Sport In Action (SIA).
And World Vision Integrated Projects Director Wezi Kaira said the goal of the project is to increase availability and uptake of quality services for adults and child survivors of GBV.
The campaign intends to raise awareness among community members on the need to report sexual GBV violence within 72 and 120 hours in order to access post exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection and emergency contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.

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