Zam:Speak out against GBV

Zam:Speak out against GBV

Date: January 12, 2022
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Arthur Davies  Sikopo,

Lusaka, 9 December: She has for close to three years now being living under an abusive relationship, but today, she says “enough is enough!”

Jane, (a pseudo name), demands that Justice should prevail in a case in which her boyfriend, whom she has a child with, be arrested for gender-based violence against her.

She narrates that she saw some ‘red flags’, from his behaviour few days after they started chatting.

“It was just few days after we started talking, texting each other and all that, that I saw some red flags from his behaviour. He could behave strange to me, uncaring sometimes, rude and sometimes you would just notice that the person doesn’t want to give you attention or even talking to you. But I couldn’t let go,” she recounts.

Jane states that life after meeting the man changed as she was now being verbally, physically, emotionally and monetary abused, a thing she thought would change.

She has been physically brutalized in front of her children and other dependents and dragged outside the house where neighbours would watch and those that tried to intervene be verbally attacked by Joseph.

“I have been beaten several times, and usually my crime is just asking for clarity on home matters,” she narrates.

Jane, who now regrets not walking away from the relationship early, says her family members and friends have advised her to leave him at some point but thought things were going to change.

Almost dropping tears from her eyes, Jane unbuttons her sleeves on the left hand, pulls it up to show the writer her fresh 5-inch-long wound which still has stitches on it.

The family of the alleged abuser, Joseph, a pseudo name too, is equally tired of the relationship wrangles of the two, Jane and Joseph.

In a screen-shot conversation between Joseph and his family members, obtained by Jane, the family expresses their disgust at his behaviour further challenging him to grow out of such as his age and actions do not tally.

“You need to grow out of that uncalled for behavior. You have grown now and your actions should be that of a fully grown up and responsible individual,” reads in party.

Jane says she has decided to come out to speak about her abuse to help other women that ‘it does not pay living in abusive relationships’ as one may end up losing their lives.

She affirms, “I am speaking now because I want that lady, whether married to a wealthy man or not, handsome and adored around or not, that life should not be shipikisha club as they say. Relationship life should be enjoyed and not the opposite”. ‘Shipikisha club’ is a coined language used to encourage women to stay in their marriages no matter what negative things they go through at the hands of their spouses.

Jane is sure that if she continues with the man that has fathered her 2 years old child, she may just lose her life because it has proven that the man is just ruthless and cares less about what society says about his ill acts.

“Ladies, you will just lose your life, while your same partner will move on and marry another woman. If your relationship proves toxic, hurtful, meaningless and dangerous among other vices after you have tried to put things in order, don’t wait, cut it off. You will have a better life without it,” approvals a strong bonded Christian.

“I just want justice to prevail now. I am tired and can’t take this anymore. I want to live a violence free life, a life where I can be smiling throughout. Not this that I have gone through,” she demands.

By time of interview, Joseph was still not yet arrested by Police as he was evasive of Law enforcement officer after a Call Out was issued through his employers. And Jane says she will not rest till she sees him arrested and account for the misery he has caused onto her.

Jane is part of the statistics the Zambia Police Service continues to register in the country.

According to Police, a total of 4,042 cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) were reported Countrywide during the Third Quarter of 2021 compared to the Third Quarter of 2020 in which 4,620 cases of GBV were recorded, showing a reduction of 578 cases translating to a 12.5% reduction.

And Non-Governmental Gender Organisation’s Coordination Council, NGOCC, Executive Director, Engwase Mwale, has welcomed the decision by Jane to take the matter for Law enforcement agencies to deal with it.

Mwale however bemoans the abuse Janet has gone through for years now saying many women are going through the same but due to various factors such as fear, they do not come out to speak of their plight.

She is now encouraging many women to come out in the open and tell their stories so that help can be found.

“And therefore, to hear of a story where a woman has finally recognised that she is being violated and takes a step for law enforcement to take course, is commendable. And we appeal to women that could be going through the same to come out and report such cases,” Mwale says.

Arthur Sikopo is a journalist from Zambia . This article is part of the GL News and Feature Service Sixteen Days of Activism series.


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