IT is sad to note that gender based violence (GBV) still plagues our communities.
The Zambia Police Service and judicial system have over the years worked hard to address the acts of violence perpetrated on women and children but it seems reform is hard to achieve.
The recent quarterly statistics has led to the Zambia National Men’s Network for Gender and Development (ZNMNGD) demanding on prison sentences for offenders.
the Zambia National Men’s Network for Gender and Development National Coordinator, Nelson Banda has said the rising numbers of sexual and gender based violence cases were a cause for concern.
“The statistics released by the Zambia Police Service Victim Support Unit on Sexual and Gender Based Violence is enough evidence that there is need for the government to establish Sexual Offenders Prisons to deal with the alarming cases of sexual violence the country is experiencing,” Mr Banda said.
“We feel the establishment of Sexual Offenders Prison will offer focused punishment of rapists and defilers and send a strong message to would be sexual offenders that they risked being sent to a Sexual Offenders Prison should they engage in sexual crimes.
“The separation of sexual offenders by placing them in isolated Sexual Offender Prison will be another form of punishment to create shame on the part of the perpetrators unlike mixing them with other criminals is not punitive enough to stop others from committing sexual crimes.”
The latest statistics for the 2021 Second Quarter Gender Based Violence shows that 1,104 Child Victims were abused countrywide out of which 872 were girls and 232 boys.
The 2021 Second Quarter GBV Crime Report shows that 804 Sexual Offenses were recorded representing 18.6% of all the reported cases. Out of these, 590 victims were girls translating to 73.4%, 202 victims were women translating to 25.1%, 11 victims were boys translating to 1.4%, whilst 01 victim was a man translating to 0.1%.
576 cases of Child defilement translating to 71.6% were recorded of which 571 were girls and 05 were boys, representing 99.1% and 0.9% of all the reported cases.
Mr Banda said that it is a worrying situation which needs to be tackled aggressively by government establishing a Sexual Offenders Prison to punish sexual predators.
In the last two years the country experienced some of the worst SGBV cases such as gang rape of girls and women including defenceless grandmothers, sodomy of boys and defilement of girls as young as 3 days old. In some cases victims were left brutally murdered by the perpetrators. “In view of the above the country requires to adopt new approaches in tackling the problem if we are to combat SGBV,” he said.
“We hope that the next set of Male Parliamentary Network members will be proactive enough to lead these discussion in Parliament to deal with the escalating cases of sexual crimes.
We also call on the Ministry Of Finance to ensure that the Victim Support Unit is adequately funded and well-resourced with transport for following cases, cameras for documenting evidence, gloves, stationery among others as the statistics clearly show that the VSU handles very complex matters that borders on the lives of ordinary Zambians.”
We could not agree more, serious neasures must be taken to eradicate this vice.
Zambia’s women and chidren must be assured of protection and action against GBV.