……most survivors evade psychosocial therapy
By Wallace Mawire
UNFPA Deputy Representative Mr Yu Yu
At least 300 000 women of child bearing age have experienced gender based violence in 2016 in Zimbabwe with most of the women evading psychosocial health support which has become a cause of concern for authorities trying to eradicate the scourge of gender based violence in the country.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Deputy Representative in Zimbabwe, Mr Yu Yu said at the launch of the national programme on zero tolerance for GBV 365 that of the 300 000 women abused in 2016, only 12 000 or 4% sought health services for psychosocial therapy while at least 3 300 or 1% accessed health services within 72 hours.
Mr Yu Yu said that from the statistics, it has become clear that the majority of survivors of GBV do not seek help in the country.
According to the UNFPA representative, failure to seek services results in continued physical and psychological injury to the survivors and those around her.
It is also reported that the 72 hour window period presents the optimum opportunity for the survivor to access services to prevent HIV infection, pregnancy and prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
Also failure to seek justice services results in impunity for the perpetrator of GBV.
“Zimbabwe has laws and policies to address GBV. These include provisions of the constitution, the criminal code and domestic violence act. These laws are however toothless bulldogs if they are not enforced,” Yu Yu said.
He said that he hoped that one of the results of the national programme would be the growth of awareness in the communities of the importance of seeking services for GBV, which will in turn result in an increase in the number of survivors seeking services, particularly health services.
Yu Yu said that they view elimination of GBV as central to achieving universal access to sexual reproductive health and rights.
He added that GBV in its many forms has devastating consequences on the physical and mental health of victims. Physical trauma and injury, infectionwith STIs including HIV and AIDS and unwanted pregnancies are some of the worst effects of rape.