Zimbabwe is facing a surge in domestic violence cases, with more men coming forward to report abuse by women.
The country recorded 18,907 cases from January to October this year, an increase of 9.6% from the same period last year, according to police statistics.
The police data shows that women are still the majority of victims, reporting 16,444 cases against men, compared to 2,463 cases reported by men against women.
However, the number of men reporting abuse has risen by 38.2% from last year, when they reported 1,782 cases. At least 46 lives were lost to Gender Based Violence (GBV) this year.
Police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi, said the statistics show that domestic violence is not only about women being attacked by men.
“Men are now coming forward to report abuse by women. Communities should continue giving credence to the issue of peace and tranquility in families. When couples have challenges here and there, only engagement and discussions can solve some of the differences,” he said.
Nyathi urged citizens to take advantage of available community structures to solve GBV cases. He said the major causes of domestic violence include social media, family setups, financial matters and infidelity.
The Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development, UN Country Team Zimbabwe and partners launched the 16 days of activism campaign on November 17, with a call to double efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls.
The 16 Days of Activism against GBV is an annual international campaign that kicks off on November 25, with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on December 10 with International Human Rights Day.
The 16 days of activism period presents an opportunity to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls, as well as to promote gender equality and human rights.
It is also a chance to involve men as allies and partners in the fight against GBV, and to encourage them to speak out and seek help when they face abuse.
In Zimbabwe, at least one in every three women (15 – 49) have experienced physical violence (35%) while one in every five women (17%) have experienced sexual violence, according to the UN. In most cases, perpetrators are intimate partners.
The true extent of GBV in the country for men who are victims of such violence remain underreported due to social stigma. Kukurigo