By Andile Tshuma
Harare men are the biggest complainants against abuse by women, a report by the Anti-Domestic Violence Council reveals.
During a media briefing on latest statistics on gender-based violence (GBV), chairperson of the Anti-Domestic Violence Council in Zimbabwe (ADVC) Eunice Njovana said it was worrisome that cases of domestic violence continued to rise.
She said while the number of men who report cases of domestic violence was increasing, the number of women who report remained very high.
“Ending domestic violence will require a co-ordinated and concerted community response in which we all play a part. It is understandable to be shocked when domestic violence occurs, but we must also understand its root causes. We must know that we can prevent domestic violence. And together, we can prevent a child from having to experience the abuse,” said Njovana.
According to figures announced by ADVC, there was a 23 percent increase in domestic violence cases reported by men and a 10 percent decrease in domestic violence cases reported by women.
“I think it is important to give more context around the statistics to show what we are fussing about. These should show what is happening and what the incidences are. Just to give you a snapshot that in 2016, 1993 men reported cases of domestic violence perpetrated against them, against 17 673 women that reported in the same year.”
“We find that in 2017, 2 461 men or males reported incidents of domestic violence perpetrated against them against 16 067 cases of women and girls who reported domestic violence. We are still compiling the total figures for 2018 and these are police reported figures. They exclude figures of other practitioners in the sector as you know there are many,” she said.
Njovana said as of September 2018, the number of women reporting incidents of domestic violence was slightly above 10 000.
“But for 2018 which is up to September, 2 183 men reported cases of domestic violence against 10 064 women,” said Njovana.
Harare topped the list of provinces with most reported cases of gender-based violence against men while Matabeleland South province recorded the least.
“In 2016 about 1 993 men reported cases of domestic violence perpetrated against them and in 2017 the number of men who reported these incidents increased to 2 461. The number of women who reported cases of domestic violence to the police in 2016 dropped from 17 673 to 16 067 in 2017, although there is a downward trend of reported cases on the side of women, the numbers remain high and unacceptable,” Njovana said.
She called for society to unite in putting an end to all forms of domestic violence and called on service providers to promptly provide quality services to victims of domestic violence and ensure timely access to justice.
Musasa Project programmes manager Precious Taru said in 2018 alone, the organisation received 26 000 cases of gender based violence and called on communities to speak out against all forms of violence against both men and women.
Taru said on average, nine percent of the reports were from men while 91 percent were from women.
Padare/ Enkundleni Mens Forum on Gender programmes officer Zipho Ngezipho Ndebele said the high numbers of men reporting domestic violence was testimony of the work of organisations that encourage men to report abuse.
“While we cannot celebrate that more men are being abused, the figures show that unlike the past when abuse went untold, more men are heeding our call and reporting abuse. Due to stigma, many men have been afraid and too ashamed to report gender-based violence. However, now there are various approaches we are taking to ensure that society is protective of all vulnerable in society. B-Metro