Violence against women and girls is the most prevalent and pervasive human rights violations in the world and as according to results of research reveal that ‘one in every three women experience physical or sexual violence — at least once in their life time’.
This is observed by Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod — through the Church & Society programme as it joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), which starts today, November 25 through to December 10.
In a statement from Church & Society Church & Society Executive Director, Rev. Master Jumbe said “it is believed that the solutions to this state of affairs lie in the robust responses, including investing in prevention”.
“Regrettably, however, it has been observed that nations world over are not investing that much to counteract violence against women and girls.”
The theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against GBV is: ‘Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls’ and Rev. Jumbe as a Synod, they “bemoan the trend at which cases of GBV are increasing in this country and call upon different stakeholders to join hands in fighting this battle”.
“We are, therefore, concerned with the slow pace at which cases of sexual violence are being handled by the law enforcement agencies.
“We believe that indeed ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ and call upon all law enforcement agencies to speed up the justice delivery systems in all the sexual violence cases.
“Our memories are still fresh of a case in Thyolo where a school girl was defiled and eventually murdered but up until now this case has not yet been concluded.”
As the way forward, Rev. Jumbe says in commemorating this year’s occasion “Malawi should remind different stakeholders to collectively join hands in investing resources, efforts, expertise and skills to end the vice”.
Thus Blantyre Synod make a strong call that:
i. All stakeholders, faith-based institutions included, to join hands in addressing any form of GBV;
ii. The law enforcement agencies to speed up cases and mete out stiffer penalties for perpetrators of GBV; and
iii. The general public to report any form of GBV to relevant authorities with the utmost speed.
“Together, we can and together we must end GBV in this country,” says Rev. Jumbe.
According to UN Women, the 16 Days of Activism against GBV is an annual international campaign that was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991.
It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
In support of this civil society initiative, the United Nations Secretary-General launched in 2008 the campaign UNITE by 2030 to End Violence against Women, which runs parallel to the 16 Days of Activism.
Every year, the UNITE campaign focuses on a specific theme and this year’s campaign calls on citizens to show how much they care about ending violence against women and girls by sharing the actions they are taking to create a world free from violence towards women.
This year’s campaign also calls on governments worldwide to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.