As we commemorate the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, 263Chat will profile 16 most influential women in Zimbabwe. The focus will be on their achievements and the contribution they have or are making to uplift society and the country at large. However as this is the last we will profile the pioneers of fighting against Gender Based Violence (GBV) Adult Rape Clinic.
Adult Rape Clinic situated at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital and offers support to victims of adult rape from around the city of Harare. The organisation’s vision is to be the centre of excellence for the provision of care, support, training and advocacy and to promote similar centres for sexual assault and rape survivors throughout Zimbabwe.
The organisation attend to numerous cases of adult rape within the city of Harare with victims referred yearly by the police for Medico-legal examinations. According to ARC, though victims are both females and males, majority of survivors are female.
ARC further notes that despite the fact that adult rape is prevalent across the wider spectrum of the Zimbabwean community, it is often misunderstood by the general public as well as key service provider. Such misconceptions surrounding adult rape only tends propagate the commission of the violence as perpetrators are seldom prosecuted.
Over the last three years, ARC managed to secure short-term funding to have the clinic at Parirenyatwa Hospital functional. Funds received from OSISA were used to set up the clinic, the Expanded Support Programme (ESP) enabled the organisation to strengthen its organizational and operational procedures, whilst funds received from UN Women enabled the organisation to carry out outreach activities to selected communities around Harare.
HISTORY OF ORGANIZATION
The Adult Rape Clinic (ARC was established as a response to the dire lack of appropriate facilities for a comprehensive and sensitive response for adult rape survivors in government hospitals in Harare and aims to establish a model for replication throughout the country. It provides comprehensive management including medical management, counselling and support services and has formed partnerships with organizations providing complementary services such as the police-Victim friendly Unit, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association and other women organizations who offer temporary shelter and advocate for gender equality.
In June 2007 the first Adult Rape Clinic (ARC) steering committee meeting was held. The main issues discussed were location of the clinic, staff, training and logistics. A multi-sectoral steering committee was established comprising of the following: Parirenyatwa Hospital Management, Casualty Department, Opportunistic Infections Clinic (Parirenyatwa Hospital), MOHCW – Reproductive Health Unit, University of Zimbabwe (UZ) College of Health Sciences (CHS) – Department of Medicine, U.Z (CHS) Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, ZRP- Victim Friendly Unit, UNFPA, Musasa Project and Women’s Coalition.
The ARC secured the support of the Parirenyatwa Hospital management and has been allocated a full wing, within the Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital, located at the Parirenyatwa Hospital complex. Through support leveraged from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and UNFPA these rooms were renovated and equipped. The ARC team of medical professionals and nurses attended various training workshops and meetings on the clinical management of rape survivors. These included visiting similar facilities in South Africa, established as replicable models for the country.
Progress was rather slow as the site which was identified at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital (MNMH) required refurbishment, and because of the challenges the hospital was facing especially in the years 2007 and 2008, this took longer than we had anticipated and ARC finally opened its doors to the public on the 9th of March 2009 and attended to the first survivor on 11 March 2009.
In 2013 ARC moved from Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital to its current location which is C floor, Ward C9 Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Operating within the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Guidelines, ARC’s activities are in the following three categories:
- Clinic Activities
ARC offers the following services to rape survivors: (services are free of charge)
- psychological care/counselling
- pregnancy testing and administering emergency contraception
- prophylaxis for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- HIV testing and counselling and administration of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
- medical examination and collection of forensic evidence
- facilitate termination of pregnancy if pregnancy resulted from the rape
- follow-up care
- referral to other support organizations