SAYWHAT Raises Alarm Over Spike In GBV Cases In Semester Marriages

THE Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) has raised concern over the prevalence of semester marriages which the organisation says are behind the rise in Gender Based Violence (GBV) and other Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) challenges amongst students.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking during the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised World Population Day commemorations, SAYWHAT project coordinator Esinathy Sibanda said COVID-19 induced lockdown had also resulted in surge in GBV cases for semester marriages settings.
Semester marriages are one of the things that students in tertiary institutions indulge in and this increases the rate of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) like HIV and gender based violence,” Sibanda said. 
“Female students are at most at the receiving end as they are subjected to various forms of abuse including sexual harassment. We have seen a number of media reports that alluded to this culture at higher learning institutions. In that regard, SAYWHAT continues to implore all higher learning students and the young people across the divide to resolve their differences amicably and report cases of GBV when they fall victim. In the same vein, students must always practice safe sex through the use of condoms to avoid sexual transmitted infections.”
SAYWHAT said the COVID-19 induced lockdown has made it difficult for some families to fend for students attending higher learning institutions giving room for students to go for anything to sustain themselves.
“The effects of Covid-19 are far reaching at global level and Zimbabwe has not been spared too. Many families have been affected and students who happen to rely on their parents for support found themselves running out of necessities like food.

“This has forced some students to stay together as couples something that has become a source of abuse. Female students usually tend to look up to their boyfriends or partners for support. The male students who are equally affected also fail to support their partners. In the end, a brawl ensues.”

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