So, recently (Precisely 19 days ago), the Association of Women in Media (Awome) marched against escalating cases of rape and defilement in the country. In their petition presented to the director of health services at Blantyre City Council, they stressed the need to for authorities to toughen the laws to deter would-be offenders. They are seeking lasting solutions to these matters that will stop the vices. Similar marches were held in Lilongwe and Mzuzu. Granted and commendable indeed.
On Monday this week, concerned women led by Women Doctors Association marched in Blanytre and Lilongwe, to protest against increasing cases of sexual violence in the country.
Two days prior to the concerned women’s march, artists convened at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre on Saturday last week to add their voices against rape, defilement and other forms of sexual violence. All these are commendable. Why, even President Lazarus Chakwera has so far been moved to the extent of instituting a national task force to spearhead the curbing of the malpractice. I love the solidarity.
But honestly, the duplication of these events is appalling and it is exactly what I dislike. Women seem to be in the habit of wanting to outdo each other in how they talk, dress, carry themselves and how to run their families. It is normal I guess, but when it comes to matters of national interest, especially those affecting women, concerted and corroborate efforts are needed. We cannot have particular groupings waking up haphazardly to march against the same vices when the can gather en mass to speak out against the same with a larger and lasting impact.
What if tomorrow women in law, vendors, police officers, civil society organisations (CSOs), secretaries, cooks, teachers or guards decide to organise their own events over the same cause, will we be taken seriously? Are we not only exposing ourselves to the attention seekers we are purported to be or people who seem to lack a focus?
I would have loved if the women joined hands and marched together at the same time. Follow-up marches could still apply to—for example—check on progress of petitions, the presidential task force and general outcome from the marches when dissatisfied.
In reaction to Awome’s march, I wrote here for the need to change the same script, different players mode of reporting on rape and defilement cases. Journalists said they were tired of having to report same old stories with just different people—meaning the continued exposure of such stories in the media is not doing enough to deter would-be offenders. There is a need for a new approach.
Even these marches are turning out to give the same script, different players. Let’s fine tune our approaches to showcase seriousness. If Chakwera responded just after one march by Awome, the rest could have waited for a new development to react on or better yet, march against other vices. Unity is powerful.