Chikwawa — Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC) has expressed concern over the rising cases of gender based violence (GBV) in Chikwawa, noting that there was need for concerted efforts to effectively deal away with the malpractice.
The statement comes against the background of reports that the Department of Gender in the district registers about 100 GBV cases every month, describing the development as worrisome.
Recently, Chikwawa District Gender Officer, Ritah Sukasuka told Malawi News Agency (MANA) that most cases were in form of rape, defilement and physical abuse among others.
Chikwawa District CAVWOC Projects Coordinator, Judith Chisi Pangani said the rising cases of GBV in the district calls for immediate interventions from various partners to deal with the situation.
"These cases originate from our communities, we have various players working in such areas and above all, we have GBV committees in some areas besides child protection workers who can play a very important role in addressing the problem," Pangani said.
"It is worrisome that some of the cases are perpetrated by community leaders who should be entrusted with the responsibility of protecting our people. I believe it is now time that we should start doing something to help us deal away with the situation," she said.
Pangani added it was also high time local leaders, chiefs in particular, realized the importance of respecting the rights and dignity of a human being in keeping with the dictates of the law.
"At a time when government and other stakeholders are implementing various programmes such as Social Cash Transfer and Food for Work, it is sad that some traditional leaders are taking advantage of some of their vulnerable subjects, especially women to deprive them of entitlements," Pangani said.
Meanwhile, one young lady in Chikwawa, Sheilla Malola, has established a non-governmental organization called Tigwirane Manja to help address GBV issues.
Malola who founded the initiative and also heads Legal Aid Office in Zomba, said the new NGO would help to empower women to voice out issues of concern, adding that it was sad that GBV cases were still rampant in the country.
"We would like to have a society where women who are victims of various GBV acts come out and speak the issues and understand where they can report the same. We would like the communities, women in particular, to work within the law," Malola said.
She, however, commended government for taking a bold step in developing strategies aimed at curbing GBV.
"As a country, we have the law and what matters is enforcement and implementation of the law which we must dwell much on," she said.