Sex-related GBV could be linked to mental illness

By Grace Mkwapata

Machinga district has registered a total of 62 cases of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) from the period of January to May 2020 which is higher compared to last year during the same period.

“Cases of this nature are there but many go unreported because of our culture here, which does not encourage openness or some stories could simply be shameful,” said James Kambona Community Victim Support Unit (CVSU) Chairperson of Traditional Authority Chiwalo in Machinga.

Eneless Thombozi (not real name) from Village Headman Chikalawira reported to the CVSU office for being beaten up and raped when she was in her monthly periods after she denied her boyfriend (who she had been enthroned to)  sex.

“He insisted to use a condom, I still said no but he ended up beating and rapping me,” said Thombozi.

A similar scenario happened to Gertrude Muwawo who ended up getting severely beaten after he denied her boyfriend sex.

“He beat me up because I said no, I was just not ready to have sex. I told my parents and they reported the issue at the police,” said Muwawo who was at the point in state of tears feeling betrayed with someone she once trusted.

The station Community Policing Coordinator for Machinga district said the Malawi Police Service is doing everything possible to deal with such perpetrators.

“Challenges only arise when they disappear from the scene making further investigation and closing down of the case almost impossible,” he said.

Dr. Moses Muotcha a psychologist and a Lecturer at Kamuzu College of Nursing, has attributed such acts as simply brain disorders that can be treated through counseling and conducting civic education in the communities.

“People with sexual disorders can be linked to mental illness, but on the larger part, not being aware that it’s a violation of one’s right,” said Muotcha.

He said people like these need to be referred to  hospitals and other services that the country is offering at the moment after being charged because chances are there that the disorder will remain uncorrected.

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