31 October 2017
. . . urges women to approach police
HARARE Metropolitan Lawmaker Susan Matsunga has decided to stand up against gender based violence ahead of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) set to be commemorated next month.
Speaking exclusively to H-Metro, honourable Matsunga said she has been a victim of domestic violence for years but was too coy to stand up for what is right.
“I would think of my political positions, and aspirations and I would think of what the media would write if I were to come out in the open and stand up against the abuse. And I did not know what to do. So I was dying slowly and being an MP, people would actually come with their problems to me not knowing my burden is larger than theirs,” she said.
The legislator said even going to the police was scary to her because of the implications in the media, but now she knows the media does not take sides and journalists are human beings that just report on matters as objectively as they can – especially matters to do with GBV. And she believes there are many more people like her out there.
“There are many female leaders that are victims of domestic violence and I would like to urge them to stand up against this abuse not only to stop their situational abuse but also to stand out as examples to other women and young girls who look up to them. If leaders like us stand out, report these crimes to the police and open up to the media, we help the downtrodden woman who thinks it is normal to be abused by her husband.
“They must not be intimidated by threats that their men are well connected to the media because these are usually empty threats.
“I lived in violence through ignorance and accepting it as a part of life, but i was wrong. As a member of the Health and Child Care Committee we have gone through workshops and training with Gender and Media Connect who conducted a Media skills training workshop for women in leadership from across political divides. All these have helped us a lot in terms of decision making and how to handle the media.”
Honourable Matsunga said it takes a victim to stand up against GBV and society is littered with many vices that can lead to abuse of women,
“I was violated as a leader at my political party before I was MP. People think one must give sexual favours to rise to positions of leadership especially if you are female. Then I became MP and the domestic abuse continued behind closed doors and in public yet people would not understand if i were to report or complain about it because to them I am an honourable MP who gets lots of allowances and drives a Ford Ranger.
“Many women get HIV from abusive men without venturing to get the virus and they have no voice because everyone chooses to be quiet. Many women in leadership look strong out there but have men that are abusing them in the home and at the workplace, it is time such women stand up against GBV because slowly it is killing them – unozongonzwa kuti munhu akadonha akafa ne BP from abuse,” she said.
She urged women to report to the police whenever they are abused, no matter how small the abuse may appear at first.
“The police has a victim friendly unit and counselors that help stop GBV at its infancy and people must not be afraid to make such complaints.”
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence will be commemorated from 25 November – 10 December 2017.