Various stakeholders have bemoaned gender based violence which according to reports is on the rise among lovers.
This was discussed at a stakeholders’ meeting to commemorate World Radio Day in the country which took place in Mzuzu on Monday, February 13.
The event was marked by a panel discussion on whether Malawi’s radio stations adequately cover issues of gender-based violence.
A panellist Jessie Puwapuwa, who is also Station Manager for Voice of Livingstonia (VOL) Radio, wondered why gender-based violence often happens between lovers.
“It is disheartening to note that gender-based violence quite often happens between and among people that call themselves lovers or those that love each other.
“It is happening in the homes… [and] stable relationships, and I feel that is quite disheartening because we would assume that those that are in a stable relationship should really love one another and gender-based violence shouldn’t happen in that context,” she said.
Puwapuwa further wondered why violence was still happening despite the presence of instruments to help curb the vice; one of the tools being radio programmes on gender-based violence.
“As radio stations, I cannot conclude that we are doing enough. But we are doing something. I know MBC and Mzimba Community Radio have programmes designated to tackle issues of gender-based violence.
“We [VOL] also have a programme called ‘Wakutemweka Wane’ which is about love but gender issues are also embedded in it. So we are doing something and the community is there to judge us if really we are doing enough to curb gender based violence,” added
Concurring with Puwapuwa, another panellist, Modester Banda-Nkhoma, who is also Acting Deputy Headteacher for Mzuzu Government Secondary School, said gender-based violence is even prevalent among relations.
Banda-Nkhoma said radio stations are doing enough but there is need to find out whether people listen to the programmes on gender-based violence.
“We have heard of school girls being defiled by their brothers and fathers. We cannot be really sure if the people out there listen to the radio because we tend to wonder why these cases are so rampant nowadays,” she said.
Taking his turn, Apostle McHellings Kalaya, who is also director for Wanangwa Foundation for Development Organisation, said gender-based violence is a big sin.
“We don’t want to hear or see gender-based violence because as men of God, we believe that God created man and woman equally so we don’t believe in segregation, oppression or marginalization in any way of doing any activity,” he said.
Apostle Kalaya said gender-based violence is influenced by several factors such as immorality of individuals concerned, economic challenges and cultural beliefs.
Kalaya believes that radio stations have taken quite a big step towards tackling issues of cultural, financial and educational differences in different programmes.
Quite often there have been reports in the country’s media about husbands beating their wives, in some cases, leading to death; in others, causing severe injuries. Some men have also suffered violence from their wives and reportedly most husbands suffer in silence.
The panel discussion was organized by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) in conjunction with Malawi National Commission for UNESCO. It drew together people from the two organisations, the media and students and teachers from Mzuzu Government Secondary School.