INTERNATIONAL medical and humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Friday launched an art exhibition dubbed Windows Into My Life at the National Arts Gallery in the capital as part of their psycho-social support therapy to survivors of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV).
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Sexual gender-based violence is a form of abuse that includes sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. A total of 19 artworks crafted by survivors of SGBV will be showcased until December 10 to create a platform for the survivors to educate members of the public on the issues of SGBV.
The exhibition will run as part of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence commemorations which commences on November 25 and ends December 10.
MSF Belgium head of mission for Zimbabwe, Fasil Tezera, said the art exhibition is meant to raise awareness on sexual violence and its effects on society.
“We decided to give voice to the survivors of sexual violence and to celebrate their hope and aspirations for a brighter future. We are humbled they decided to share their experiences through these artistic expressions,” Tezera said.
“When drawing the artworks, the survivor gets a moment of introspection where they are given the opportunity to express the way they felt when they were sexually abused and the way they felt after receiving psycho-social support.”
Harare City Council’s director of Health Services Prosper Chonzi said in a speech read on his behalf by the district medical officer Collen Nyatsambo, the city was committed to fighting sexual violence adding that perpetrators of sexual violence should be punished severely.
“We recently opened a 24-hour medical facility for survivors of sexual violence at Wilkins hospital to show how dedicated we are to fighting sexual violence,” Chonzi said.
“Survivors need support from everyone including family members that they stay with, not to be stigmatised because of what would have befallen them. Instead of attacking them verbally, let us support them.”
MSF SGBV field co-ordinator An Vandeborne said body mapping is a creative therapeutic tool that brings together bodily experience and visual artistic expression.
“In its basic form, body mapping involves painting a life-size representation of one’s body onto a large surface and using colours, pictures, symbols and words to represent experiences lived through the body and show the path that one has taken through life,” Vandeborne said.
MSF is an international medical humanitarian organisation that has been working in Zimbabwe since 2000. It runs projects in partnership with Harare City Health Department and the Ministry of Health and Child Care that include treatment and care of people living with HIV, tuberculosis, drug-resistant TB and mental disorders.
The organisation is also running another SGBV project at Epworth Polyclinic providing medical care and psycho-social support to survivors of sexual violence. It also provides SGBV interventions, cervical cancer screening, water and sanitation services and emergency preparedness. MSF projects are currently located in Chikomba, Epworth, Harare, Gutu, Mutare and Nyanga.