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Men reluctant to report GBV for fear of ridicule


Nthatuoa Koeshe

Men are reluctant to and have a fear of approaching the police to report instances of abuse meted against them for fear of being ridiculed and being turned into police’s laughingstock.

This was revealed by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Sesotho Media and Development (SM&D) in an interview with Newsday.

SM&D Lead Facilitator Likhetho Rabolinyane, said during their facilitated film screenings, they address issues such as fear of reporting, where they mostly encounter reports of men who fear reporting when they are abused for fear of being ridiculed by the police.

“We receive information that men fear reporting when they are abused, because most say that they become the laughingstock of police officers especially when they report cases of sexual abuse or domestic violence against them,” he said.

Rabolinyane said in their facilitated film screenings, they often invite the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS), Department of Child and Gender Protection Unit (C.G.P.U) and other relevant bodies which help victims of Gender-Based Violence.

“The importance of inviting CGPU is to iron out such issues of fear of reporting and make sure that every community member knows the right reporting structures of GBV, regardless of being a man, female, child, or others,” he said.

He said in some cases, the same department goes further by engaging the Ministry of Social Development for people who might have experienced GBV from direct family members.

“If there is a need for victims to be given psychosocial support, we have external facilitators and social workers who give psychosocial support to the victims,” he said, adding that they have a good working relationship with the Elizabeth Glazier Pediatric Aids Fund (EGPAF) where they mostly refer children victims so that they receive psychosocial support from their psychologists.

He said they are currently working in four districts of Lesotho, being Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, and Berea, and that they have more than 19 reported cases of women and children who experienced GBV.

He said their entry strategy into different villages is through office of the District Administrator (DA), the chief in the area of interest and through community leaderswhere workshopsare held in order to introduce them to their methodology and discuss the challenges faced by their respective communities.

According to a recent Commonwealth report dubbed ‘The economic cost of violence against women and girls’, violence against women and girls costs Lesotho more than $113 million (about M1.9 billion) a year.

The report estimates the total cost, including loss of income and expenses associated with medical, legal and police support, equates to around 5.5 per cent of Lesotho’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Speaking of these findings Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said the report proves once again that ending violence against woman and girls is not only the right thing to do but that it is also the “smart thing to do and beneficial to us all”.

She said tackling this issue will prevent immense pain and suffering for individuals and communities and will also end the damage violence does to economies.

“As the first report of its kind to focus on Lesotho in this way, our intention is that it should provide the basis for designing more clearly focused national policies and programmes, and help ensure that adequate resources are allocated for priorities such as training service providers.

“The findings put a price tag on the endemic scourge of gender-based violence, and demonstrate that the consequences of ignoring the problem are far higher than the cost of taking preventative and remedial action,” she noted.

Sesotho Media and Development (SM&D) is Non- Governmental Organization (NGO) disseminating information through documentary films to engage marginalized and vulnerable groups in behavior change communication process, they showed that they have embarked in different initiatives to fight against domestic violence.

SM&D focuses on communication in rural communities and educational facilities; targeting community leaders, men, women, adolescents, and children, to engage in dialogues about sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS, GBV, teenage pregnancy, early marriages, drug, substance abuse and many more

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