By Sydney Gokomere
Gweru, August 17, 2016 – AN increased number of male victims of domestic violence and other forms of emotional abuse are beginning to visit the One Stop Gender Based Centre in Gweru to access various services since its inception two years ago, RadioVOP has established.
The One Stop Centre, situated at Gweru Provincial Hospital, was established in 2014 and offers critical services in health care, including administration of Post Exposure Prophylaxis, emergency contraceptives, psychosocial support, police and legal aid services all under one roof.
According to Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development minister, Nyasha Chikwinya, a total of 23 men had visited the centre since its inception.
“I am reliably informed that since the inception of this One Stop Centre, a total of 699 females and 23 males have been assisted and almost 99% of the cases handled are cases of sexual violence,” Chikwinya said at the official commissioning of the centre recently.
“Gender based violence in whatever form has got multiple effects on a survivor’s economic well being, health, safety and security.”
Zimbabwean men have been criticised for shunning services such as voluntary HIV testing as well as failing to report domestic violence abuse by their wives.
But men who spoke to RadioVOP at the centre said the centre was victim friendly hence the reason they were coming out to access services.
One man who preferred to be identified as Mhofu said he was a victim of emotional abuse from his wife but was able to get help at the centre.
“I was getting a lot of emotional abuse at home and this was affecting even my performance at work but after visiting the centre I managed to get help and things are working better for me now,” Mhofu said.
Several other men who preferred anonymity but visited the centre said they now realised they could not continue to suffer gender based violence just because cultural expectations ‘expected them to be tough.”
The Gweru One Stop Centre was implemented by the ministries of women affairs and health and child care with funding for its establishment coming from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).