Cultural practices which are deeply ingrained in societies around the country continue to hurt the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).
According to UNFPA gender officer Beatrice Kumwenda there are many cases of gender based violence that are seen in the rural areas but they are simply overlooked because they are the norm.
Kumwenda was speaking to a group of journalists last week in Blantyre at a media orientation and message development workshop for the visibility of the gender and women empowerment (Gewe) programme being implemented by government with support from UNFPA and European Union.
The objective of the workshop was to orient the Media on the Gewe project, sensitise them on gender sensitive reporting and to develop a communications and visibility strategic plan for Gewe.
She cited a story done by Suzgo Chitete where he revealed the harmful cultural practice of Kudika practiced in Dedza as a good example of the work that the media can do.
Katete’s story talked about the practice in which men leave their wives seeking employment in South Africa.
While there the brother who remains in the village is supposed to take care of the conjugal rights with the woman of which she is to accept whether, she likes or not.
Other stories that were also cited were those where a man and woman are separated for months because she has given birth. If the man sleeps with another woman he has to tell his wife to choose another man to sleep with and usually the choice is the husbands. One woman interviewed talked about having been told to sleep with a man who stinks and is ugly, so that she would not look at him again.
Gewe is a three-year programme being implememnted in 13 districts of Chitipa, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, Karonga, Dowa, Mchinji, Salima, Dedza, Mangochi, Nsanje Chikhwawa, Chiradzulu and Machinga.
The project seeks to reduce gender inequalities in accessing productive resources and development opportunities.