Lilongwe — The Coalition for the Empowerment of Women and Girls (CEWAG) along with the Malawi Human Rights Resources Centre (MHRRC) on Monday presented a petition to the ombudsman to investigate alleged sexual harassment in workplaces.
The petition comes after several women working for Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) came out in the open on social media describing their experiences of sexual harassment by senior officers at the public broadcaster.
Speaking on Monday in Lilongwe, CEWAG Executive Director, Beatrice Mateyo said cases of sexual harassment are rampant especially in government offices including the recent allegations at MBC which need to be duly addressed.
"We want the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the sexual misconduct allegations, so that at the end of the day the victims should receive justice and if the perpetrators are identified, they should be punished in accordance with the law," explained Mateyo.
Mateyo said they have been assured by the Office of the Ombudsman that they will work together with MHRRC to ensure that the issues are resolved accordingly.
Ombudsman Martha Chizuma described the petition as profound since it's the first time to receive such a petition saying that will go a long way in breaking the silence that surrounds such cases.
"There is a lot of harm that happens because of sexual assault. This petition has provided a platform to encourage the discussion of this issue because the silence perpetrates these cases.
"The cultural context that we operate in is conducive to promoting sexual abuses, so every intervention pertaining to this issue has to keep in account of the cultural context in order to make the perpetrators understand that the cycle of sexual abuse might affect even their own daughter or relatives in the long run," stated Chizuma.
Established in 2016, CEWAG aims to ensure that women and girls are able to enjoy their rights and participate fully in public affairs.