Gender activists have asked the public and other stakeholders to use the 16 Days of Activism to address psycho-social problems that citizens face.
Non-Governmental Organisation Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) chairperson Barbara Banda said in an interview that discussing gender-based violence (GBV) and defilement would help create a safe environment to discuss vulnerability.
She said: “As a recent police report released last month will show, there is a 5.6 percent decrease in GBV and an even lesser decrease in defilement so as is the case we hope these 16 days of activism will go a long way in helping the situation further.
“Again, in our responsibility as citizens, there is a need to ensure that victims of things like GBV are assured of having support before and after they are attacked since once someone is defiled, their lives are changed forever.”
Banda also urged Malawians to take a personal approach to looking after each other in the community to avoid further damage in the society.
In a separate interview, Family Rights, Elderly and Child Protection executive director Esmie Tembenu yesterday agreed with Banda on using the 16 Days of Activism to increase intensive public awareness on laws, policies and human rights.
On her part, Southern African Development Community Gender Protocol Alliance chairperson and gender rights activist Emma Kaliya described 16 Days of Activism as an opportunity for deeper analysis and understanding of the nature of issues.
She said: “Malawi has made immense progress in awareness of what the 16 days of activism entail, the Judiciary has also assisted in offering stiff punishments but also with the coming in of social media we have seen people immediately reporting illegal and unthinkable actions.
“Regardless, we have seen an absence of support in issues such as drug and substance abuse, understanding suicide and violence toward men while others continue to deliberately commit crimes that all stakeholders are putting efforts against to bring us back to where we are coming from.”
First Lady Monica Chakwera is expected to grace the launch of the campaign alongside the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare.
The 16 Days of Activism will run from tomorrow to December 10 under a localised theme ‘Orange Malawi: End Violence Against Women and Girls, Act Now’. Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism to promote efforts to prevent and end GBV.