"Our country has laws that defend women, violence is to be ended” - Men and boys join the push to end gender-based violence
MANICA, Mozambique - Mateus Madzime, 69, is a father of nine children and lives in Chianga, Manica province. Today, in his community, he is a leading advocate for eliminating gender-based violence and a mentor for positive masculinities. His main message: men must hold themselves accountable for ending violence against women.
"Aggression against women is an intolerable attitude that has to end, no man has the right to assault a woman. We have to report all aggressions," explains Mr. Madzime, flanked by some community members and holding a poster illustrating different forms of violence against women.
In Mozambique, according to the latest Demographic and Health Survey (2011), over 37 per cent of women suffer physical and sexual violence. The low number of reports remains a significant problem in the country.
"We should have no tolerance for violence, towards women and girls - we need to stop it". - Mr. Madzime, a mentor for positive masculinities
Men like Mr. Madzime are key partners in eliminating violence, advocating locally for respect for human rights, particularly those of women, and promoting positive concepts of masculinity that respect the dignity of women and girls.
"Our country has laws that protect the physical, psychological and sexual integrity and human rights of women against any form of violence by their husband, ex-husband, partner, boyfriend and family members. We should have no tolerance for violence, towards women and girls - we need to stop it," says Mr. Madzime.
Since 2019, with the support of the Spotlight Initiative, more than 700,000 men and boys have been involved in activities and campaigns to prevent harmful practices and transform discriminatory social norms.
Always report violence against women and girls
Mr. Madzime became a mentor for positive masculinity after participating in awareness-raising sessions to eliminate gender-based violence organized by the Institute of Sponsorship and Legal Assistance, a justice institution supported by the Spotlight Initiative.
Today, using posters and information leaflets on Gender-Based Violence, Mr. Madzime meets with the men of his community in conversation circles to raise awareness of the types of violence, how to report it and the laws that punish violence.
"Don't use violence. Use dialogue. It's as simple as that". - Mr Madzime
"In Mozambique, the Law on Domestic Violence states that the crime of domestic violence is public, which is why anyone who knows about its occurrence must report it," says Mr Madzime. From the group of men listening attentively to Mr. Madzime, comes a question: "But then, how can we solve the violence and our problems in our homes?" Mr. Madzime is quick to respond.
"It's simple," he begins, "if you see violence happening in your community, you must report it immediately to the Police, the Family and Children Victims of Domestic Violence Offices, Prosecutors' Offices, IPAJ or your community leaders. Then, in your home, even easier: don't use it. Don't use violence. Use dialogue. It's as simple as that."
The global Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls is a United Nations initiative in partnership with the European Union and other partners. In Mozambique, the Spotlight Initiative is led by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCAS) in partnership with the United Nations and civil society organizations (CSOs).
By Mateus Fotine