Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco) executive director McBain Mkandawire says the culture of silence is a challenge in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV and Aids.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mkandawire said most people, including traditional leaders have been oriented to GBV and the need to speak out but cases keep rising as communities still hide perpetrators of abuses and fail to report the issues.
He said: “The African culture of hiding GBV occurrences has destroyed many lives of girls and women in the country.
“There are many gaps in our social support structures due to lack of comprehensive capacity building among stakeholders such as the police, social welfare and the Judiciary.
“The law should take its course in incidences where people, including chiefs, fail to report GBV cases and hide criminals because it is defeating the whole purpose of fighting the abuses.”
Mkandawire said the social systems and structures in Malawi are not functioning well enough to effectively deal with GBV and there was need to revamp it.
In a separate interview, Mulanje assistant social welfare officer Noel Chambo said GBV in the district has worsened in recent years, adding that in May alone, they recorded over 48 of which 33 were cases of teen pregnancies.
“GBV undermines women and young girls economically, socially and health wise. There is need for collective effort in ending GBV as it undermines efforts in the HIV and Aids fight,” he said.