By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
MASVINGO – Zimbabwean females are at risk of violence as compared to their male counterparts from ages 16-24.
According to the Young Adult Survey of Zimbabwe (YAZ) results show that more females in the 16-24 years age group have experienced forms of physical and sexual violence more than their male counterparts.
YAZ results were successfully launched last week where the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, John Mangwiro was present.
Agnes Mahomva, the Country Director for Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation said that YAZ is different and unique in its own way as they had to look at both HIV and violence among the adolescents.
“YAZ is different and unique, other surveys used to look at violence and HIV separately. They only looked at the violence aspect but YAZ looks at both and helps to implement solutions,” she said.
Dr Mahomva said that the high number of females who experienced sexual violence was quite high than that of the boys which is unacceptable.
“26.7% of females experienced violence which is physical, sexual and emotional violence whilst 26.2 males experienced the same type of violence.
“Only 1.2% of males experienced sexual violence in their childhood while a total percentage of 8.1 of females have experienced sexual violence in their childhood. The females encounter more sexual violence than the males as 16.9% show the percentage of females who experienced their first sexual encounter as forced and were even before they reached the age of 18 and this is of serious concern. Of the data collected, 0.0% was collected for the males who experienced their first sexual encounter as forced. This is extremely high and should not happen at all,” said Mahomva.
Dr Mahomva said that these are the details they need so that they can go back to the community and devise solutions.
YAZ was implemented with different objectives which are to estimate the national prevalence of physical, emotional and sexual violence perpetrated against boys and girls. The other objective is to identify risk and protective factors for physical, emotional and sexual violence against children in order to inform stake holders and guide prevention efforts. The other objective being to also identify risk and protective factors for HIV acquisition among adolescents and young adults aged 16- 24 years to inform stakeholders and guide prevention efforts among other objectives that led to the YAZ.
YAZ is a national population based survey aimed to collect data on the health of adolescents and young adults and it is a follow up study to previous surveys on child health (the 2001-2 young adult survey (YAS). It provides an updated picture of the issue of violence among children and youth to inform policies and programs.