Woman arrested for obscene placard speaks out

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The woman who was arrested on Thursday for hoisting a placard that carried ‘obscene messages’ during protests against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lilongwe has finally spoken.

The lady, Beatrice Mateyo, who identifies herself as a human rights defender and gender activist, says she did not author the placard which read ‘Kubadwa ndi nyini sitchimo. My pussy my pride’ but supported the course to fight against GBV in Malawi.

Malawi women

Mateyo: We should not talk in hidden language

“I think for me, the focus of people should not be on the message that was on the placard no, the focus should be the message that it is intended to bring across. In our society women have been reduced to their private parts, that is why for me, I felt that message was appropriate in the context of GBV. Our society has the tendency to sugar coat and skirt around issues, but I think it’s high time we start to talk openly about these issues.

“One of the reasons why HIV cases have risen in this country is because of the culture of silence because we talk in hidden language, but it’s high time that this changed,” Mateyo states in a circulating media release.

On what she was trying to convey, Mateyo was quick to say: “People are calling that placard immoral, like seriously how many things are we doing in our houses, in our community that are more deplorable that this mere placard. I think people should not reduce the whole exercise to just one placard, there were many messages that were conveyed that should be taken home. I am pleased that people are able to talk about this demonstration; in a demonstration like this, the aim is to convey a message, people should be able to dialogue and talk about the messages conveyed days, even weeks after the event. So all in all, all I was trying to convey was that we should stop GBV and objectification of women and I feel that has been achieved.”

She has since said her arrest remains unjustifiable because the law enforcers ignore various atrocities women are facing but are quick to arrest people that speak against GBV, something she believes does not make any sense.

According to Mateyo, her arrest will not stop her from advocating the rights of women and girls.

“What I have learnt from this whole thing and the reaction of people is that we need to use language that will spark a few emotions to get the attention we need to address an issue,” said Mateyo who holds a Master of Arts Degree from University College Dublin in Ireland.

There were however varying views on Malawi24 story on the issue on Thursday with some readers saying the placard was too obscene while others backed her saying it is time to speak out.

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54 Comments

  1. Whoever is behind this stupid creature mmaso mwa ambuyawo. Why do you slap your kids akamatukwanizana ziwalo zobisika? Why do you want to change our country to be an obscening ground? Dikirani, zomwe mwalembazo zilandira nkhaza, simnati, mwatishosha dala.

  2. Plz reflect on what this young lady is saying. In my opinion she has put up very good arguments. Whatever was on the placard her message landed somewhere. BOTTOMS UP JEALOUS DOWN!

  3. Let us be civilised my fellow Malawians! arresting someone just because a mere placard? i can guess that the one who facilitate the arrest of Beatrice was recruited during Nyasaland police force era. Be reformed police officers please!

  4. This is ridiculous, u can’t come in public & say u r are proud of ur pussy as if pple don’t know what u r made up of. In this case was that lady trying to demonstrate against gender violence or to seduce men???

  5. Uchitsiru samaonetse pagulu!!!! Be wise lady!!! Don’t use abusive words next time!!! Funny part u’ll Neva want is to see your kid carrying a placard written “” WHY MUM IM A GIRL/BOY!. let’s make our democracy and its right! Pezani ma banja abwino and later muzayamika mulungu muzonse!!! Amen

  6. Chilungamo kuyenda ngati! Ppo do alot of immoral things ma communitiesmudi! Zoona and that placard was nothing but the truth!! We need to speak out! Kutchola if its needed to kuti they shud get the message better kumene!!!

  7. Can u go around all schools and arrest all teachers that teach biology,,,coz even draw privates parts,,,,,I don’t see any reasons for the arrest of the lady,,amabungwe nkhani izo zoti muchite

  8. GBV because of p***y I disagree. Walk around the streets during the night and see how ladies expose themselves to entice men thereby voluntarily inviting abuse and in the end you blame men for your own act. How many men go out and expose d***s? GBV is not because one has a p***y. There are some men who are abused as well, kudyetsedwa michila ya abuluzi, kondaine etc and some even die mysteriously just because the spouse knows she is a major beneficiary on the will. GBV applies to both regardless of sexual orientation. We should be fair when disseminating these messages.

  9. Well spoken. I am sure those people who arrested her are living in the past. Had it been she went on street to engage on violence, attacking and insulting individuals, it should surely been different.. But look, this is just a message in both local and foreign languages.

    • Freedom has limits. That’s why people get sued for infringing other people’s rights i.e defamation. It all boils down to ‘too much freedom’.

    • Let’s wait & see how state lawyers will argue with defence lawyers on limit of freedom of speech your talking about ..not sure if it will hold water in the court of law…,indecency vs freedom of speech ,,

  10. I just want to bring to the attention of dear folks the pic on the top. Look at it critically. The lady did not hoist that placard by mistake. And look at how police behave on the pic. It appears it was all a beautiful planned move. The police knew of the obscene placard well in advance. The police were curiously gazing at a woman carrying that placard and they couldn’t tell her to withdraw it. Their message reached all corners of the country. And has impacted well on the society. That reminded me of the issue about Joe Gwaladi’s rape case. Or Zambia’s General Kanene. All these to capture much attention of the general public.

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