First Lady encourages women and girls to report abuse

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The First Lady Madam Professor Gertrude Mutharika has urged women and girls to open up and report any form of abuse against them.

The First Lady shows her pledge card to ending gender based violence against women and girls The First Lady shows her pledge card to ending gender based violence against women and girls

The First Lady was speaking at Ndungunya School in Phalombe when she took part in a community campaign on violence against women and girls by Oxfam.

Professor Gertrude Mutharika said once women and girls open up, it would help encourage others who are being abused.

She said as an ambassador of the campaign she will do all she can to end continued violence against women and girls across the country.

“It breaks my heart to note that many women and girls suffer in silence once they have been abused. As an ambassador for this campaign, I strongly feel the need to bring these gender based violence acts to an end,” said Madam Mutharika.

She further added that girls and women are mostly abused by people that are close to them and trust like fathers, uncles or their school teachers.

“It is despicable to have a father sleep with his own child. When this happens, it strips the dignity of these girls and affects their lives. We need to make sure that girls are protected from such kind of acts,” said the First Lady.

Madam Mutharika said any form of violence against women and girls is an enemy of development and added that women need to be empowered and not looked down upon.

The First Lady then urged parents and guardians to send their children to school saying that education is an eye-opener and such abuses can be dealt with if people are taught on the importance of mindset change and behavior.

In her remarks, Interim Country Director for OXFAM, implementers of the project, Lingalireni Mihowa said this campaign will make sure that it impacts change in girls and women and at the same time address the abuses that they face.

“The campaign has already started bearing fruits and we are quite certain that by the time we end this campaign, many girls and women will know where to go and what to do in order to protect themselves from abuses that they face each day.

Some of the chiefs pose with Madam Mutharika after receiving their certificates

During the function, OXFAM awarded 23 certificates to chiefs that have been trained as ambassadors of ending gender based violence.

Among the ambassadors present during the function were musicians Faith Mussa and Skeffa Chimoto, Senior Chief Kachindamoto and Paramount Chief Kawinga and Chief Justice Anastazia Msosa rtd.

According to media assessment by OXFAM, Phalombe has one of the highest statistics of teen pregnancies and early marriages in the country.

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