YWCA saddened by violence targeted at especially women and children

GENDER BASED VIOLENCE CASES

The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Zambia is disturbed and deeply concerned with the level of violence being exhibited in the country in the past one month. It is disheartening to see so many gruesome acts of violence taking place in our country targeting especially women and children. It is painful and shocking that the violence is being perpetrated by family members against their fellow family relations.

Sadly, this violence within the family is mostly over disputes that can be resolved with the right interventions. As an Association we are wondering on what is happening to our people and what we are not doing right as a country? Are we not providing enough basic support and information on GBV and violence in general? Is there no one providing a listening ear, free of judgment? Or maybe we are not available in case someone asks for support? Could it be due to our busy schedule as a people as we are trying to make ends meet? We have so many unanswered questions in our hearts.

YWCA is saddened by social media reports showing pictures of people brutally killed by their own family members. We are concerned because our children who are the future of this country will begin to view GBV as a normal way of living which is not good. We therefore condemn these acts of violence more especially that they are leading to the loss of life, distressing and disturbing of families. We are therefore of concerted view that we need to provide more time to our family members and also listen to them.

Remember that dialogue over issues is important to reach amicable solutions as a problem shared is a problem solved. Further, as a society, we need to realize that people have the right to choose to whom they will or will not tell their story. There is need to open as many avenues for this as possible so that people feel that the information, they share is safe and it will be kept in a confidential manner including information on GBV. To the general public, we would like to encourage you that even without a GBV actor in your area, there may be other partners, such as child protection or mental health specialists, who can support our family members that require additional attention and support other than what the family is able to provide in a home.

We also have a number of One Stop Centres dotted around the country situated in major Government hospitals where specialists are found. In communities, there are a number of initiatives such as DREAMS that are open to receive any GBV cases. GBV is a time bomb. Therefore, we do not need to ignore or trivialize someone who approaches us and shares that s/he has experienced something bad, something uncomfortable, something wrong and/or violence.

The signs are all around us. Let us take keen interest in listening to the complaints delicate as they maybe and see how we can help. It is vital that for our country, increase sensitization on the available services offered by government institutions such as the Drug Enforcement Commission on counselling of our children who may be under the influence of substances. Further there are counseling services provided by the following institutions among other organizations;

➢ The Police

➢ Hospital and Clinics

➢ Ministry of Community Development and Social Services

➢ A number of NGOs also offer this service such YWCA and other key stakeholders.

People also need to take advantage of our private counselling institutions that are close to homes so that independent persons are able to attend to our issues that are difficult to talk about in the homes. As a Christian nation, we need to be aware that Jesus did not come for saints but came for sinners (Luke 5:31-32). Let us utilize the religious places that are in our communities to get counsel on how to handle problems we encounter in our homes.

We are calling upon the clergy to take up the role and ensure that they teach on family values and how the family can be protected through Biblical principles. Lastly, we are appealing to members of the public to never feel ashamed of seeking psycho-social counselling services as mental health is a common condition just like other human conditions that require medical attention. We are also encouraging family members to be more supportive to members that are undergoing mental breakdown rather than stigmatizing them.

Further YWCA encourages members of the public to come forward and offer information that will help the investigative wings expedite their investigations in order to bring about closure to the affected families. YWCA would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones from acts of gender based violence.

Ms. Patricia Mubanga
YWCA Council President

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