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Young people need solutions

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When a young girl (19) is stabbed in the chest by her boyfriend 15 times, this is no longer a news item, but a call to action.

This is one case out of a series of abuse incidents that take place every day, not only in Zimbabwe, but around the world.

This young girl met her death this week, for the mere reason that she had decided to dump this man (24) — a man who we read in media reports is a “quiet young Christian man”.

What then causes a quiet young Christian man to develop such rage?

This case poses a lot of questions.

Why could this couple not part amicably? Was it always his intention to kill her?

He wanted to commit suicide, so why did he not do this first? Why did he run after he stabbed her, rather than end his life as well?

We can try and deduce what happened through psychology, analysis, law and spiritual revelation, but it will not bring back the life of a young innocent nineteen- year-old girl.

What happened to this young girl is unlawful and unethical. It sounds like something we would probably only read about in “other” countries, but this happened right here in Zimbabwe.

Judging from the comments on stories in online media reports and Facebook, the public is outraged by such an atrocious act.

Such responses heighten the possibilities of fear in relationships, fears of where the country is going, fears of any abuse and in this case fears of compromise in safety and well-being of young people.

Speaking to the programme director of Youth Advocates Zimbabwe (YAZ), Tatenda Songore, this opened up a range of issues to look into where young people are concerned.

YAZ aims to “empower young adults and adolescents about their reproductive rights, social and civic responsibilities through information sharing and transformative education, whilst fostering a culture of human rights”.

What we learn from the brutal murder is a violation of a human right to life.

This young girl had the right to live, the right to a healthy relationship and the right to safety.

Gender-based violence of any kind should never be tolerated, but the matter goes deeper. Where are the support systems for young people?
There is need to address the fact that in most schools there is no clearly defined counselling system.

Most students only get guardian counselling at the beginning of high school and even then it is minimal.

This young girl’s case is a build-up from other issues relating to sexual reproductive health rights and abuse.

Young people have the right to information on sexual reproductive health and the right to safe environments to receive the best counselling service.

Above all, everyone has the right to life.
“The education system is failing us. The youth are being let down and this is only the tip of the iceberg,” Songore said.

Young people should have access to support through youth- friendly centres which give space for honest, friendly, non-judgmental counselling and information.

The community at large also has a role to play to offer guidance in all aspects of life.

Could this incident have been avoided if there had been immediate intervention and counselling in the relationship?

It’s not absolute, but it’s a start.

To date, many issues have come up as young people contact the youth chatline administered by YAZ, but this organisation alone does not have the capacity to deal with every young person in the country.

There is need for government to put systems in place to address various social and sexual reproductive health concerns in the education system.

Young people should not be afraid to speak out, seek counselling and everyone should play their part in facilitating this.

Let’s help each other find solutions.

For any other issues, a youth chatline is available to address any concerns you may have:
0777 469 107.

If you would like to send some of your comments and thoughts or have an event coming up feel free to email: nndlovu@newsday.co.zw or twitter @Nobundlo. If you have written any article, poem, short story and would like to have it featured in future, you can send it to the same address.

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