Most gender-based violence and sexual abuse cases go unreported because many women have no economic capacity to launch legal proceedings, the Women Judges Association of Malawi has said.
The associationâ€™s Southern Region chapter secretary Agnes Patemba said on Tuesday research her group conducted showed that many rape cases were registered at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, but the figure did not match the number of cases lodged in courts.
Patemba, in an interview on the sidelines of a workshop her association had with the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) in Blantyre, said women are at a disadvantage in pursuing legal proceedings.
Patemba, an assistant registrar at the High Court in Blantyre, said her association wants women to be well represented before courts and to know their rights.
She said the association is also championing the appointment of more women judges, arguing Malawi has only four female judges out of 24 judges.
IAWJ human rights education director Anne Goldstein said in an interview that young lawyers must be encouraged to become judges.
Goldstein said her association discussed with women judges cases of gender-based violence and sexual abuse, including defilement.
IAWJ is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation of more than 4 000 members at all judicial levels in more than 100 nations, according to Goldstein.