COMMENT: Men should shun patriarchal norms & report abuse

The Chronicle

PATRIARCHY has mostly prevented men from seeking help when they suffer abuse at the hands of their partners as they choose to suffer silently than “face humiliation.”

Shame restricts them from approaching relevant institutions to seek help fearing that after opening up, they would become objects of ridicule.

Some institutions have made the situation worse by deploying employees who would, instead of offering male victims assistance, be the first to either scorn or mock them.

Statements like, “so you are not a man,” crushes the victim’s self-esteem and fear of hearing those words has driven some males to keep their ordeal to themselves.

The reality, however, is that while the abuse of women and girls is more prevalent, some men also suffer abuse from their partners.

The lack of assistance has, in some cases, led to grave consequences where victims end up committing suicide, inflicting harm on or even killing their spouses. These could be avoided if the abused men seek help instead of hiding their pain and resorting to self-harm or committing crimes of passion.

In one of our front-page stories today, we report that more men than women have reported abuse, that includes sexual violence, being perpetrated by their spouses in Matabeleland South.

This is captured in a Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) 2022 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Matabeleland South Provincial report, which further states that men in the province are also victims of physical, emotional and economic abuse.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC)

According to the report, 6,9 percent of males that were interviewed reported having experienced spousal emotional abuse while 4,1 percent of females reported having suffered emotional abuse.

Speaking recently during a dissemination meeting, Food and Nutrition Council (FNC) programme officer Mr Alpha Ndlovu said 5,7 percent of males suffered economic abuse compared to 2,3 percent for females.

“The incidence of sexual abuse within a marriage setup for males was 1,4 percent and 1,5 percent for females. The incidence of physical abuse was 2,8 percent for males and 2,0 percent for females. The incidence of emotional abuse was 6,9 for males and 4,1 percent for females. For economic abuse the incidence rate was 5,7 percent for males and 2,3 percent for females,” he said.

Mr Ndlovu added: “Emotional abuse accounted for most incidences under spousal violence, followed by economic abuse, physical abuse and lastly sexual abuse. Physical abuse was the highest form of gender-based violence within households in the province.”

He said emotional abuse was high for both males and females while sexual abuse had the lowest reported incidences. The incidence of emotional abuse among spouses was 6,9 percent for males and 4,1 percent for females.

It is important therefore, for everyone who suffers any form of abuse to seek assistance because the abuse of men is equally bad as the abuse of women and must be frowned upon.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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