Domestic violence up

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About 8 000 cases of domestic violence were recorded throughout Zimbabwe last year amid concerns this was contributing to the spread HIV because it involved cases of sexual abuse.

Lindile Ndebele of Musasa Project, an organisation that deals with gender-based violence, told journalists at a media briefing that 7 628 cases of domestic violence were reported. This number reflected an increase from 3 193 cases reported in 2009.

She said domestic violence was the most prevalent form of gender-based violence in the country. “Among all other forms of gender based violence, domestic violence is the most prevalent,” she said.

“This is because it mostly takes place in homes and in most cases, it goes unreported.” Ndebele said society tended to turn a blind eye to the matter.

“Domestic violence comes in many forms, one of which is sexual abuse in the homes,” she said.
“Sexual abuse is when someone forces themself on another person through the use of physical assault or threats.”

Ndebele said in most cases, men became extremely violent and forced their wives to have sex with them.
The women are often powerless and cannot negotiate for the use of protection.

“This then means there is a high risk of HIV transmission or re-infection if one of the two or both are already HIV-positive,” she said.

According to a report by United Nations Population Fund, violence against women plays a crucial role in increasing the risk of women to HIV infection.

It is the main reason why women are more vulnerable to HIV infection than men.