Men demand GBV safe shelters

Rumbidzai Ngwenya 

A local men’s forum has called for safe shelters to house men and boys who also need to heal from the trauma caused by gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrated on them by women. 

The call came just a few days after the end of the commemorations of 16 Days of Activism Against GBV against women and girls, where men reiterated that they too were victims of abuse. 

Speaking to the Daily News this week, Men 4 Equality national coordinator Chaka Ruzvidzo said there is need to establish safe shelters for men or for those that house women to allow male inmates as well. 

“Safe shelters should be inclusive because GBV is not just a women issue, everyone can be a victim but what we are having in Zimbabwe right now is a situation whereby we have safe shelters that are catering for women and girls not men and boys,” Ruzvidzo said.  

“But if you look around you see that we are having quite a number of cases of male survivors of GBV that are coming through. 

“So, the sad scenario is that at the end of the day, the services provided actually affect the lower number of reports that men and boys also make.” 

Ruzvidzo gave an example of Musasa Project which offers female-centric anti-GBV services but there is no such similar centre for men.  

“Traditionally, Musasa has been offering services to girls, so for a man to really feel comfortable in such a space, I tell you it’s really quite difficult. There is a need for a male-centric platform,” he said. 

“I should give reference to Kenya, the country has got safe shelters for men and boys although the ones for women and girls have got more capacity due to high numbers of women affected than men. 

“These are safe spaces for men, who flee from their abusive partners because there are women who are serial abusers too and men need a safe space to recover from that trauma.” 

Ruzvidzo also reiterated that because men were the biggest perpetrators, there was also a need for a hotline where they can call to get counselling which could see a drop in GBV cases. 

In a recent interview with the Daily News, Padare Men’s Forum revealed that 20 percent of married men were emotionally, financially and sexually (denied conjugal rights) abused by their spouses.