First Lady Monica Chakwera has bemoaned rising cases of sexual violence against girls and women, saying it is denting the country’s image.
Speaking yesterday in Dowa where Oxfam in Malawi organised a gender-based violence awareness public gathering as part of activities to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the First Lady called for restraint to end the crimes.
She said: “The way girls are being raped makes one wonder, are we really humans or animals?
“These incidents are defacing the country’s image. We need to stand up against this by reporting perpetrators so they face the law.”
The First Lady’s concern comes amid rising sexual violence cases in the country.
In Dowa, a 34-year-old man raped three women last month while in another shocking incident, a five-month old baby was defiled in Zomba.
Chakwera said Dowa was the hotspot for women abuses and called for an end to violence.
On her part, Oxfam in Malawi country director Lingalireni Mihowa said it was shocking that some of the worst women abuses happened as the country is observing 16 Days of Activism against GBV.
“The downside is that even as we are observing the period, some people have been committing the abuses. What it means is that there is impunity. People think they can do what they want and get away with it,” she said.
Analysing the 16 Days of Activism against GBV which end on December 10, Mihowa said she was impressed because “there has been political will as evidenced by the First Lady’s presence”.
President Lazarus Chakwera formed a task force which has since drawn an action plan to put an end to sexual violence.
The Judiciary last week made a rare admission that at times judicial officers have let down victims of sexual violence and GBV cases in the manner they have decided such cases.
Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda last week came under fire for urging people in the country to beat up perpetrators of sexual violence before handing them over to police.