By Sam Majamanda, MANA
Girls from Traditional Authorities Jenala and Nazombe in Phalombe are determined to fight gender based violence (GBV) which most girls have been experiencing in the area that have been hindering them from accessing education and participating fully in community social life.
Speaking on the sidelines of a girls’ camp for out-of-school youth club members organized by the Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC) on Monday, one of the participants Monica Kwerengwe from Chiringa Youth Club said many girls in the district were facing various forms of violence including sexual and psychological abuses perpetrated by their stepfathers.
“We want to put this to an end because it shutters most of our girls’ dreams and complicates their future,” she said.
“You should know that a girl who has been sexually or physically abused fails to actively participate in education and even in other community activities, which in the end renders her vulnerable to further abuses in the future,” she said.
Statistics from Phalombe Police Station’s Victim Support Unit show that among cases of GBV registered since January this year, sexual harassment leads by 23 percent and most of the abuses recorded involve stepfathers and their daughters.
CAVWOC’s Project Manager, Thokozani Chimasula said while girls continue to face challenges such as the abuses, it was encouraging to note that girls who were subjected to such abuses have teamed up to deal with the injustice on their own.
Chimasula said it was CAVWOC’s aim to address the abuses and bridge all the gaps in sexual reproductive health rights issues so that girls from the two TAs were attaining education as well as participating in community and national development.
Among other objectives, girls’ camp — funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — was designed to form an alliance among girls from the two Traditional Authorities that would strengthen the fight against GBV.