Female journalists in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe have taken to the streets to demonstrate against increased cases of sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence in the country.
In Blantyre, the journalists marched from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital through Masauko Chipembere Highway to deliver a petition at Blantyre City Council.
They chanted songs demanding to eliminate rape culture and that the justice system should impose stiffer penalties to those convicted of sexual assault especially when victims are Under-16 girls.
They demanded that the criminal justice system take sexual assault and rape much more seriously than it does today and urged fellow women not to shield sex offenders, perpetrators of violence against women and children.
Handing petition to Emmanuel Kanjunjunju, Director of health services at BCC, Association of Women in Media (Awome) chairperson Edyth Kambalame stressed the need for authorities to toughen the laws to deter would be offenders.
“We have written about these ills and used our platforms to raise awareness about the escalating levels and the need to find a lasting solution. We acknowledge the fact that in some cases perpetrators have been prosecuted but obviously the punishments have not been a deterrent to other offenders.
“We come to you today because the Ministry of Gender, Children and Community Development is mandated to provide policy guidance for women and child development services. We believe that the ministry will therefore be able to champion a long-lasting solution that will see not a decrease, but an end to incidents of rape and defilement,” said Kambalame.
Women Lawyers Association official Madalo Banda said sex crimes are on the rise in the country partly due to lack of knowledge and sense of humanity among offenders.
“I think perpetrators in this situation lack a sense of humanity and knowledge on the fact that it’s crime for one to even take a hand in GBV,” Banda said, adding there is need for more sensitisation on the laws.
In Lilongwe, demonstrations were joined by politicians, male media practitioners and civil society activists.
Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara who joined female journalists in a march against rape and defilement, called upon the nation to rise up and end the spate of violence against women.
Some women carried placards demanding that male rapists will now be subject to surgical castration while women who are convicted of child sex offences will have their fallopian tubes removed.
Female journalists delivered their petition at Capital Hill at the Ministry of Gender offices.
The women call for harsher punishments on convicted rapists.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :