Malawi on Friday jointly launched Ndiulula (I will Speak out) campaign and 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence with a call for victims, particularly at the workplace, to expose perpetrators in a bid to arrest the vice.
Launching the campaigns in Blantyre under a joint theme ‘End Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work and Tertiary Education’, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Cecilia Chazama emphasised the need for the society to break the silence and report to relevant authorities acts of gender-based violence.
“The silence has been so huge as findings indicate that 96 percent of victims of gender-based violence (GBV) have not reported their cases. We want the victims to come out in the open. We have proper mechanisms in place to make sure that all victims are assisted, and perpetrators brought to book,” said Chazama.
She added that her ministry is outraged by continued cases of gender-based violence, especially sexual harassment at work place, which include institutions of higher learning as well as primary schools, and will engage necessary stakeholders in the fight against the malpractice even beyond the 16 days of activism.
Sophia Nthenda from NGO Gender Coordination Network, said gender-based violence at the work place, include in domestic work, political sphere, women working as guards, young girls working as interns, market women, at school (sexual intimidation by fellow students and lecturers) and remains a major challenge in the country.
She called for the scaling up of efforts to popularise the 2016 Cyber Act and other gender-related laws, such as Gender Equality Act, Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and Marriage and Divorce Act.
On his part, president of the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) Luther Mambala said the union is also outraged by continued cases of gender-based violence at the work place despite efforts being made to fight the vice.
He said almost 30 percent of cases handled by the union are to do with gender-based violence.
Without excluding men as victims of gender-based violence, Mambala hinted that most of the victims are women.
According to the 2016 Malawi Demographic Health Survey (MDHS) report, 41 percent of women aged between 15 to 49, have experienced physical or sexual violence. About 96 percent of sexual harassment cases are perpetrated by men in positions of power.
Taking her turn, United Nations Women Representative to Malawi Clara Anyangwe said issues of gender-based violence require a multi-sectoral approach if change is to be achieved.
She said the UN women will continue supporting and advocating as well as assisting in the removal of barriers impeding the fight against the fight so that Malawi moves in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).
The event started with a match from Chichiri Upper Stadium to College of Medicine Sports Complex. n