Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
TWENTY percent of males who were sexually abused in the country’s rural provinces were violated by female relatives, according to a survey.
The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) Rural Livelihood Assessment of 2017 on domestic violence also says nearly 24 percent of women were also raped by their male relatives.
It was worrying, the survey notes, that although less than one percent of males in rural areas are abused sexually, most of their attackers were their female relatives.
Most of the sexual violence cases against men were recorded in Mashonaland Central and Matabeleland South provinces at one percent and 0,8 percent respectively.
Masvingo is the only province which did not record any sexual assault case against men by female relatives. On the other hand, Manicaland recorded the highest number of the sexual violence cases against women at 1,6 percent while Matabeleland South had the least sexual assaults at 0,2 percent.
“The highest proportion of men that experienced sexual violence was in Mashonaland Central (one percent) and that of women was in Manicaland (1,6 percent). Of concern were incidents of sexual violence in both males and females that were mostly perpetrated by other relatives (19,6 percent and 24,4 respectively),” reads the ZimVAC report.
It also notes that spousal abuse is rife in the country.
“Spouses were reported as the perpetrators by 35,8 percent of the females and 19 percent of the males who had experienced physical violence,” reads the report.
ZimVAC however noted that the country recorded more physical abuse cases than sexual violations.
“Nationally, about 4,2 percent of women reported having experienced spousal violence.
Manicaland had the highest reports of spousal violence among both women and men (5,7 percent and 3 percent respectively),” reads the ZimVAC report.
Enkundleni/Padare’s Men’s Forum Bulawayo programmes officer Mr Ziphongezipho Ndebele said most men do not open up about sexual abuse.
He said his organisation has not dealt with any man who has confessed to being sexually abused.
“It seems men are reluctant to report about sexual abuse. We have seen reports through the media that men are being abused, but no one has approached us for counselling. This could be happening to boys but the challenge is that even these young boys are not coming up in the open. Most of the times the boys don’t suffer any bruises and they can even brag about having sexual encounters,” he said.
Mr Ndebele expressed concern over men’s attitudes, saying their macho character was exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases.
“Although men might be willing to engage in sexual encounters with these women they overlook the dangers posed. We hope awareness campaigns can be done to educate men and even boys because there are sexually transmitted infections and HIV they can contract in the process,” said Mr Ndebele. —@nqotshili.