Something remarkable and beautiful is cooking all over Zambia; men are beginning to be concerned about the women they are married to. Simple as it seems Zambia has one of the highest domestic violence statistics in the world. ‘I Care About Her’ is a program by men to help defeat the country’s poor record of male violence against women. The project which is funded by Oxfam in collaboration with YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) aims to change the perception that men have towards women, one man at a time.
Why is there a Problem?
According to Foreign Times Magazine, last year four women died every month as a result of domestic violence. In Zambia the order in which men place women in relation to who is most important to them is the mother, the sister, the daughter and sometimes the wife. Not even all the time, only sometimes. This is a culture that encourages men to beat their wives as a sign of love. What these men don’t understand is that their wife is someone’s mother, sister, and daughter.
What is the Strategy?
Usually domestic violence programs focus on rehabilitating the victims, empowering them enough to report their cases and begin picking up the pieces of their lives. This program is different in the sense that it is male focused. It aims to empower men to treat their women with more dignity and respect. Each man in the program becomes a champion, who is in turn accepts the responsibility of 20 men and 20 boys who he mentors on how to be a better husband. The focal point in the whole champion scheme is to ensure that these champions and the people that they are mentoring intervene when they see a women being abused by her partner. As a result female deaths related to domestic violence are down to once a month this year so far.
The program is so successful because it has expanded beyond the main cities into the villages where traditions and culture are at their richest, it has gone to places where it is needed the most. The police and even the influential church have gotten involved. It has gained so much momentum because of the fact that it aims to liberate the man and not punish him, show him his wrongs instead of simply telling him his wrongs. Since domestic violence is not just a Zambian problem we should all adopt this model of thinking and liberate all our men!
Source: Foreign Times Magazine