Mental Health issues resulting from Gender Based Violence
December 7, 2021: Mental Health issues resulting from Gender Based Violence. Organised by Tunaweza Foundation, Kachem Young Initiative and Nkechinyere Melva Uguru.
Gender based violence (GBV) is a pervasive and traumatic experience for many women. To raise awareness of the issue, the Tunaweza Foundation; Kachem Young Initiative and Nkechinyere Melva Uguru, a legal advocate, initiated Brave Voices 16 days of activism which included daily presentations about GBV.
Brave Voices is an Initiative of Kachem Young Initiative (KYI), organised by KYI and co-hosted by a coalition of organisations including; Initiative for National Growth(Racheal Inegbedion, Inclusive Directions Botswana (Moffat Louis), Tunaweza Foundation(Victo Nalule), Byomire Inclusive Development Foundation LTD(Gorretti Byomire), Consulting E.I. (Joao Vembane).
On December 7, 2021, Paul Sachs from ReidSachs LLC was invited to join a group talking about Mental Health issues resulting from GBV.
Among many issues discussed, two in particular generated a lot of discussion.
One, are faith-based leaders friends or foes in the campaign against gender based violence? Faith-based institutions and congregations are designed to be natural supports for individuals as they face life challenges. And many find that faith-based leaders are helpful and comforting. Yet, as noted by some of those attending the Dec 7 presentation, some faith-based leaders have abused their power or even perpetuated GBV. Thus, rather than being a place where a victim of GBV can come forward about their plight, faith-based institutions may feel unsafe for these reasons.
Two, how can police and legal advocates be more sensitive to the victims of GBV? There are competing needs in making a GBV report. The police and legal authorities want to gather information from the victim as quickly and thoroughly as possible to investigate a potential crime. Yet the victim, in the throes of coping with the traumatic experience, may be too emotional to make a clear report or even unable to remember details. Paul pointed out that trauma affects a person physiologically and psychologically. So, even if they are willing to make a report, a trauma victim may not remember information immediately after the event.
Both issues raise the importance of public awareness, education and support for victims of GBV and those who work with such victims. And, it was noted that while the overwhelming majority of victims of GBV are women, men also can be victims in some situations and their difficulties in reporting such events must be understood too.
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