Financial costs of domestic violence

HARARE - Gender-based Violence (GBV) not only affects our social spheres but has a greater impact on the country’s development. This has become a global problem.

According to a research paper by FAO, GBV affects the most productive population groups (ages 15-45) therefore, has “a devastating impact on the agriculture sector and food security: illness (including HIV) or injuries as a result of violence reduce work capacity, productivity and livelihood assets.

“Many victims and survivors of GBV are stigmatised and excluded from community and social activities, and deprived of support.

“Risky coping strategies such as commercial sex, employed by those facing food and livelihood insecurity and humanitarian crises, often lead to further erosion of the livelihood asset base, and further vulnerability to GBV and HIV transmission.”

If productive population groups are affected, it means that as a country we will not reach our fullest potential as far as development is concerned.

We will always remain a developing country depending on aid from first world countries.

Furthermore, GBV impacts on people’s ability to work. If a victim is abused, sexually, physically or emotionally they cannot perform well in their spheres of influence.

Sexual abuse may lead to the transmission of HIV, thus health deteriorates.

In some instances GBV results in the loss of life, in some instances premature deaths.

This is impacting on the country as a whole, as we are losing able-bodied people who could have increased production and maybe had great ideas on the development of our country.

GBV has a direct impact on the economy. Research has shown that reported and unreported cases may use up to “$516 per rape $548 per assault.”

“ The mean mental health care costs per incident including those incidents in which women did not seek treatment were $323 per rape, $269 per physical assault $294 per stalking.”

Doing simple maths, these statistics show that over $2 million is spent on GBV rape-related cases alone in Zimbabwe, and $2 555 300 on assault cases annually.

If that money were to be directed to the development of the country, imagine how far we could have gone.
Sixteen facts about Gender-Based Violence (Source Oxfam)

- Around the world, as many as one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way — most often by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member.

- Women are more susceptible to violence during times of emergences or crisis due to increased insecurity.

- One in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.

- About one in four women are abused during pregnancy, which puts both mother and child at risk.

- Laws that promote gender equality are often not applied.

- At least 130 million women have been forced to undergo female genital mutilation or cutting.

- “Honour killings take the lives of thousands of young women every year, mainly in Western Asia, North Africa and parts of South Asia.

- At least 60 million girls who would otherwise be expected to be alive are “missing” from various populations as a result of sex-selective abortions or neglect.

- Over half a million women continue to die each year from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes.

- Rates of HIV infection among women are rapidly increasing.

- More often than not, perpetrators of gender-based violence go unpunished.

- Worldwide, women are twice as likely as men to be illiterate, limiting their ability to demand their rights and protection.

- Early marriage can have serious harmful consequences including, denial of education, health problems, including premature pregnancies, which causes higher rates of maternal and infant mortality.
Power imbalance also means that young brides are unable to negotiate condom use or protest when their husbands engage in extra-marital sexual relations.

- Violence against women represents a drain on the economically productive workforce.

- Each year, an estimated 800 000 people are trafficked across borders 80 percent of them women and girls. Most of them end up trapped in the commercial sex trade.

- Gender-based violence also serves by intention or effect to perpetuate male power and control.

It is sustained by a culture of silence and denial of the seriousness of the health consequences of abuse. - Geraldine Kasambara

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