7 November 2018

Malawi: Nsanje Men Suffering GBV in Silence

Nsanje — It has been revealed that all gender based violence (GBV) cases recorded this year at Nsanje One Stop Centre were reported by women and children only.

Nsanje One Stop Centre Nurse and Focal Person Margret Alufandika in an interview Monday acknowledged the sad development as she said men still do not report such cases.

Alufandika said that the organization did not register male GBV cases, does not mean that men are not abused.

"Regardless that no male GBV complaints are being filed at our office, men out there are being abused but they choose to remain silent and keep such things a secret. In the end, they continue being anonymous victims of such cases," said Alufandika.

Nsanje Police Community Policing victim support unit and Child Protection Coordinator, Lex Mulawi, while concurring with Alufandika, he expressed concern over the trend, saying silence is one of the factors fueling the rate of suicide cases in the district.

"As men continue hiding the abuse, the level of mistreatment eventually rises to the point where it causes them grievous health damage and or emotional disorder. 90 per cent of the district's recorded suicide cases were committed by men and according to suicide notes which most of them left behind, the suicides were as a result of stress," said Mulawi.

He said there is no shame in seeking help and has, therefore, urged men in the district to seek counseling whenever they are abused, rather than letting the mistreatment eat their health.

A man who asked for anonymity said cultural believes are forcing men to endure the mistreatment they are facing from fellow men and women, hence not reporting either to police or other relevant offices.

"It is really true that we fail to report if we are abused. We do not want to be seen as weak people in the minds of many. So, we resort not to report if we are abused.

"The norm that says men are heads of the families and that women must at all times be submissive to their husbands is what is forcing these men to suffer instead of reporting when they are mistreated.

"These men feel they will look inferior and turn into laughing stock by their friends if they are reported to have been mistreated by their wives who are regarded as weak by the society, hence their choice to remain silent," he said.

Another source disclosed that he has seen a number of men who have been violated by their wives and yet they refused to report the cases.

He said, "I once met a man with bruises on his face waiting to receive medical attention at the hospital and when I asked him what happened, he disclosed to me that his wife had hit him with a pistol due to a misunderstanding which they had.

"However, when I suggested that he reports the case to police, he refused saying it will look awkward and that he was afraid he will end up looking stupid."

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