GBV victims need safe havens, says NGOCC

By Nation Reporter

THERE is need for Government to provide safe shelter for women survivors of gender-based violence countrywide, especially in rural areas, to help them recover and move on, Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board chairperson Sarah Longwe has said.

Ms. Longwe said safe shelters were a critical element in mitigating GBV in the country.

She observed that most survivors of such violence found themselves without a home, hence the need for such facilities.

Ms. Longwe implored Government to provide safe shelters countrywide, especially in rural areas.

“In a society where violence is rife in homes, protection and care is supposed to be enjoyed, survivors of such violence find themselves with nowhere to run to in some instances.

“For some of them, their family members become hostile when they report such violence because of the widely believed notion that what happens in a home should not be discussed outside the home setup, thereby promoting the culture of silence.

‘‘So such facilities are very important especially in the rural parts of Zambia where majority of women are poor,” Ms. Longwe said.

She also called on women in Zambia not to be reluctant in reporting suspected cases of GBV.

She noted that even though there had been enough sensitisation on the need to report GBV cases, many women were still hesitant to reportthem.

“We have sensitised women to report GBV but most survivors are still reluctant to report such cases due to the shame, fear and ‘dishonour’ to their families.

“But by not reporting these cases, women risk further violence, or even death; so the best thing to do is to simply report any suspected case of GBV so that the perpetrators can be brought to book. An abuser should not be protected,” she said.