Concerned people in Dowa, on Friday November 13, came together in a solidarity march amid increased reports of sexual abuse against young girls in the district.
Walking under the theme, ‘Together against defilement’ people marched from Community Centre Ground to the Police Grounds in Mponela-Dowa before they assembled for speeches.
Girls Empowerment Network (Genet) initiated the program to join the entire nation in condemning acts of sexual abuse being perpetrated by men.
Speaking after the march, Programmes Coordinator for the Spotlight Initiates at Genet, Twambilile Kayuni, said that due to increased reports of sexual abuse on women and girl-child in the district it was necessary to raise a voice.
Kayuni bemoaned the increased reports of child labour cases, sexual abuse, early marriages and other forms of violence.
“Women are being raped, young girls are defiled, child marriages and other sexual exploitations are all over hence our unified voice in condemning the vice is paramount,” she said.
She deplored the behaviours of some parents who neglect their children leaving them without basic needs, a condition that is fuelling young girls to engage in sexual activities to earn a living.
Police, council and other non-governmental organizations that promote rights of vulnerable groups like children and women in Dowa were in attendance.
Both the District Commissioner Alex M’doko and Traditional Authority Mponela retaliated over the increased reports of defilements cases in the district.
In their speeches, they hinted on the need to have collective efforts in supporting initiatives aimed at putting the situation under control.
Communities were promised that both government and traditional leaders will help by developing deliberate policies for the rights of children and women.
One of the women and Child rights activists Florence Chiotcha who is also the chairlady for Dowa Our Bodies Our Life (OBOL) said that it is time to say no to men who abuse women and young girls sexually.
Spotlight Initiative is a tool which is focusing on eliminating all form of violence against women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence and other harmful practices.
According to Dowa Police spokesperson Sub-Inspector Gladson M’bumpha and deputy police publicist for Mponela Police Station Sergeant Mcpatson Msadala confirmed that cases of GBV are on the increase in the district.
By Kaitano Lubrino