It’s very embarrassing when women withdraw GBV cases – NGOCC

Non-governmental Gender Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Board Chairperson Mary Mulenga has noted with concern the alarming number of gender based violence cases being withdrawn by women, saying it is very embarrassing.

On Tuesday, the Ndola High court freed Chifubu PF member of parliament Frank Ng’ambi on a nolle prosequi after his wife refused to complete her testimony against him in an assault case, saying they had reconciled.

Ng’ambi was charged with acts intended to cause grievous harm with intent to maim disfigure or disable his wife, Agness.

But commenting on the turn of events, Mulenga wondered why women were reporting cases which they would end up withdrawing.

“In the first place, why do people report cases because if people are going to report only to withdraw, maybe in the cases of adults, you can say that it is their choice, but in the cases of children, I think it becomes very unfair for the victim because that is the voiceless. But even for the adults, surely our sister didn’t she know that this is her husband and maybe at one time there will be need to reconcile? Because for me, I think it is becoming very embarrassing that people report and then you have these court appearances only to withdraw. It’s very embarrassing,” said Mulenga in an interview.

“I think if we are going to put family first, then we might as well, right at the beginning [when things are happening], we scrutinize this because it really does not make a lot of sense. Then what was the motive of reporting in the first place? On a serious note, I think we need to think through this. Is there pressure from somewhere? And if there is pressure from somewhere, then what about the victim? The person who has been abused? We need to interrogate these issues because the statistics from Zambia Police about cases being withdrawn are very alarming. It doesn’t send a very good message that perpetrators can actually be dealt with. If it is the women that are withdrawing the cases, then you find that perpetrators would say ‘even if she reports, she is going to withdraw the case’.”

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