GBV is a ‘second pandemic’

Some of the stakeholders at the anti-gender-based violence event at Harare police station
Department of Social development gender-based social worker, Thandeka Molose, talks about the services offered by her department while Nonceba Family Counselling Centre manager, Nozuko Conjwa, listens.

Harare police, and various stakeholders, held a gender-based violence (GBV) awareness programme at the station on Tuesday December 6.

The event was aimed at showing support to GBV victims and encouraging the public to report cases and break the silence.

Harare police station spokesperson, Warrant Officer Nosiphiwo Mtengwane, said the purpose was to reduce the scourge of GBV in Harare by also raising awareness about substance abuse, which is one of the root causes of domestic violence, and urging men to raise their voices against GBV.

She said there was a surge in GBV cases over weekends, including on Fridays. She described GBV as a “second pandemic”.

“It requires every stakeholder and individual to play an active role in the fight,” she said. “We often hear from victims that their spouse, husband or boyfriend is not a violent person when sober but once he drinks he becomes something else. This clearly tells us that alcohol abuse plays a major part in this.”

She added that stigmas about class and status add to the shame people felt causing them to hide the abuse.

“We urge them not to hide this and report it before it is too late. We are hoping to see a change and we are urging the community to play their role in fighting gender-based violence,” she said.

Ms Mntengwane said those who reported cases are assisted in a victim friendly room and are referred for a medical examination for a complete report.

Nonceba Family Counselling Centre manager, Nozuko Conjwa, said it was critical to pull every resource together so that people can get the help they need. The centre is a place of safety for victims of GBV and Ms Conjwa said it is essential that victims are treated with respect and dignity.

She said the centre wants to ensure that everyone knows what services are available to them and where to find them.

Department of Social Development gender-based social worker, Thandeka Molose, said it was critical that people were aware of the services offered to them.

She said awareness was not solely the duty of police but every stakeholder has the responsibility to play their part in fighting GBV.