According to Alberta, 54% of women (above 18), 35% girls (below 18), 6% young boys and the rest being men are abused yearly. She says they manage to treat and counsel about 3,000 victims every year. Alberta says that curbing gender violence should not only be emphasized in the months of November and December, but everyone should create awareness all the time to reduce cases in the country. Out of the cases that are reported, 90% are of a sexual violence nature (with 90% of the perpetrators being men), while 10% are domestic violence cases. Most of the domestic violence cases reported are of wife batterers and young children who have been beaten up due to petty mistakes such as stealing ten shillings or playing with “bad” friends, going against the advice of their parents not to mingle with them. Some of these children are beaten and left for dead and in most cases, step parents are the ones who carry out the brutal act as compared to biological parents.

Just to prove that the many stories we have heard about women being abused both sexually and physically are true, we visited one of the Gender Violence Recovery Centre’s in the city and were surprised by what we saw and heard. A little girl had just been admitted after her stepmother beat her over a trivial mistake, leaving her with severe injuries. Another patient, a woman from the coastal region was also beaten by her husband, but she refused to be interviewed on camera. She looked traumatised and we hope that after going through counseling, she will be okay.

Our last patient was a survivor. An 11-year-old boy (Mathew; not his real) who is currently undergoing treatment. Mathew and his mother (Deborah; not her real name too) have been at the Hospital for almost a week now, and his progress has been encouraging. The look on his mother’s face tells it all. Deborah was hesitant to confide in us at first when we sought her consent, but after we assured her of her safety – blurr her face and distort her voice – she finally opened up about her son’s ordeal.

MPASHO TV