Adult Rape Clinic (ARC) a non-governmental organisation that has been at the forefront in fighting the scourge of rape says it is financially constrained and its operations are being adversely affected.
By Vimbai Kamoyo
The NGO which first raised the red flag early this year said nothing has changed as they still face financial constraints.
“Nothing has changed, we are still financially crippled. Money is always a problem and always in shortage. However, for more information you can talk to my superiors as you know we are on a government premise and like everything with government protocol is paramount,” said Sister Magna Kurangwa the ARC programmes manager in an interview.
ARC is housed at Parirenyatwa group of hospital, the biggest government hospital in the country.
Early in the year at the event where the Zimbabwe Lawyers for human Rights (ZLHR), a grouping of lawyers who fight for human rights, the ARC Chairperson Dr Ginny Iiff said they were fiscally distressed.
“We are struggling. We had no funding at all in February and we were looking at closing the clinic until some well-wishers came through with some help but we are still struggling because of lack of adequate funding. We have secured some money that will cover 65 percent of the salaries up to July
“Through the clinic’s efforts, more people have been reporting rape cases, and hopefully this will lead to more convictions,” she said then in June at the occasion where ZLHR donated more than $5 000.
Even then, the ZLHR Executive Director Irene Petras said the money was far from what is required to keep the institution floating.
“A lot of the work that depends on the organisations who can provide medical evidence and psych-social support to our clients, not only to make the cases better in court but also that our clients who have been victims of human rights violations and survived them can come to terms and deal better with the experiences that they endured
“So it was natural for us to have identified the adult the Adult Rape Clinic as a worthy organisation to support. It is important that as the lawyers we understand the need for medical evidence and psycho-social support for people that we assist as well and even those that we don’t come in contact with,” said Petras.
The clinic which opened its doors in 2009 attends to about 30 people – both male and female – per month.
The chairperson said it was established as a response to the dire lack of appropriate facilities for a comprehensive and sensitive response for rape survivors in government hospitals in the country.
The clinic, she said, provides wide-ranging medical management, counselling, awareness raising, and support services and forms partnerships with organisations that provides complementary services in particular police, courts and legal services entities.
Speaking to the Legal Monitor – a newsletter for ZLHR- in June the ARC programmes officer said a lot of money is needed to provide comprehensive medical examinations, training and awareness raising.
“We need to do a forensic medical examination, especially if survivors report their matter to the police because that information will be required in court. So we do a proper head-to-toe examination including the genital area, noting any injuries, any bruises and anything that can corroborate that force was used. After examination we do an HIV test. If the survivor is negative and has reported within 72 hours we give them post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). We also do a pregnancy test.
“Another core function is awareness raising. We go anywhere we have been invited and we even look for places to go. For example we engage primary and secondary schools, we go to churches, workplaces, agricultural shows and also do presentations at Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
“Our training is multi-sectorial because with sexual violence it is not one player involved – a wide range of players are involved. The police, courts, and so forth,” said Kurangwa.
With such efforts it is only prudent for other players to chip in and help a worthwhile cause.