By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Family Development Initiatives (FDI) has urged Government, families and other stakeholders to work towards curbing Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country.
FDI Researcher Marian Kamanga said her organisation is concerned with the rise in the cases of GBV recorded recently hence the need for all stake holders including Civil Society Organisations and Faith-Based Organisations to take an upper hand.
Ms Kamanga said the statistics are worrying as they indicate how society is violent towards women.
She said GBV is not only a social injustice but has negative implications on families especially given the pivotal role women play in families.
“In order for us to witness development, all sectors of society including men, women, urban and rural dwellers should be looped in an inclusive rather than exclusive manner. GBV is not only a physical problem; it is also a mental and psychological issue and therefore has both social and economic impacts on the affected families.
“It is saddening to note that in some cases, perpetrators of these atrocities are family and trusted members of communities, the same institutions that are supposed to provide security and protection to the vulnerable members in our society,” she said.
The Zambia Police Service Victim Support Unit in the 2nd quarter of 2022 recorded 7,589 cases of GBV countrywide. These cases include murder, sexual and physical abuse. From the 7,589 cases reported, 1,910 were children, 1,393 were girls while 517 were boys. Women made a total of 4,584 cases and men 1,095 cases. It is clear from the reported cases that the most vulnerable groups are females (girls and women) representing 79% while males represent 21% of all reported cases.
FDI is therefore recommending the following measures;
- There is need for all segments of society to amplify the critical role females play in society including the fact that they are partners rather than subjects of their male counterparts in delivering sustainable development;
- Society should see it as a moral obligation to deliberately educate and economically empower, equip and help women to be assertive and to be active participants in the development of their communities;
- Deliberate efforts should be targeted at men, to educate and train them to respect and appreciate females and their role in development at all levels of society;
- Families and communities to collectively work towards reporting perpetrators of gender-based violence and avoid victim blaming;
- Government to stiffen the laws for punishing the offenders to deter would be offenders from committing these offences;
- CSOs, FBOs and other stakeholders should intensify counselling and healthcare support services, provision of legal support as well as linkage to Victim Support Unit of GBV survivors;
- There is a need for the transformation of beliefs, attitudes, norms and practices that provide socio-cultural contexts that sustain GBV in communities.