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ZOC calls for structures to counter women abuse in sport

The Zimbabwe Olympics Committee CEO, Anna Mguni, has called for mechanisms to be put in place to prevent female athletes from abuse at the Women and Girls Empowerment Sports (WAGES) Festival held on Saturday.

By SportBrief Reporter

The Zimbabwe Olympics Committee (ZOC) was one of the partners for this year’s edition of the Women and Girls Empowerment Sports (WAGES) Festival which was held at Prince Edward High School on Saturday.

The festival is essentially an education and awareness program about gender based violence (GBV), healthy living, Olympic Values, anti-doping, HIV/AIDS, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), and the rights of women and girls.

This year’s event, which was the festival’s fourth successive one, was graced by Zambian Executive Director of the Zambia National Olympic Committee, Brenda Chipande, who presented a research thesis titled ‘Gender-based violence in Zambian Sport: Prevalence and Prevention’ that she wrote towards her Masters in Sport Science with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences.

And speaking in front of High School female athletes, coaches and various other stakeholders, Brenda said that as per her research findings there was need to educate the public on issues of abuse in sport.

“The first critical step in tackling abuse is to educate the people on what constitutes abuse. These cases of abuse must be tackled institutionally as some of the offenders may actually not have been taught on the topic. There are various types of abuse prevalent in the world of sport and these include Physical as well as emotional,” said Brenda.

“In the studies conducted in Zambia, we also noted that a significant number of abuse cases in sport were actually coming from the boys being the victims.”

Brenda also touched on the need to have representatives for every gender in the sports teams’ setup.

“There are instances where the girls’ team has a male dominated coaching setup, this discourages the girls from talking about some issues as they will not be comfortable with discussing some sensitive issues with the opposite sex. So it’s important to have a female chaperone for female athletes and likewise for male athletes.”

ZOC CEO, Anna Mguni, expressed her delight with the turnout for the festival while also stressing the need to have structures in place that would address issues of abuse in sport.

“What we need now is to put in place structures that will ensure that we can adequately deal with these issues because the thing is sport nowadays has become more academic than it used to be. So now we need to address the issue in an academic way by educating people on abuse.”

“As Brenda’s presentation was based on research done in Zambia, we also need to do a similar research here in Zimbabwe to see what issues we discover that are prevalent in our country. But today I’m happy with the turnout and response we got from the audience has been excellent.”

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