Balaka District Council on Tuesday observed 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence with a call to join hands to curb the vice.
Speaking when she presided over the ceremony at Matola Primary School in the district, Balaka District Hospital medical officer Dr Isha Katitta said there is need for concerted efforts to end all forms of gender-based violence.
She called on parents, chiefs and non-governmental organisations to be proactive to safeguard rights of the girl child.
Katitta said: “Women and girls are the most vulnerable people who experience gender-related type of abuse which affects them psychologically.
“Let us not condone and perpetuate such malpractices. Instead report perpetrators to relevant authorities for the law to take its course.”
Balaka District Council gender officer Scholastica Datchi described the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence as crucial, saying the campaign offers an opportunity for Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare to sensitise communities to how, where and when to report issues related to gender-based violence.
“It is high time people started reporting gender-based violence cases to various structures, including Child Protection Committee and Victim Support Unit to safeguard rights of children,” she said.
In an interview, Foundation for Civic Education Social Empowerment advocacy coordinator Prisca Kunsida, whose organisation supported the event, said poverty is one of the factors fuelling gender-based violence.
She said some cases go unreported due to power imbalances as parents deliberately shield perpetrators for fear of reprisals.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence was launched on November 25 by the First Lady Monica Chakwera at Chintheche in Nkhata Bay District.