Minister of Gender Elizabeth Phiri has backed calls by a civil society organization, Men’s Network, to enact legislation that will facilitate castration of sexual offenders.‬

And Phiri says most intellectual women fear to join politics because of the insults they have to endure.

Meanwhile, Phiri says government is working towards making gender-based violence cases non-bailable and non-withdrawable in a bid to curb the vice.

At a media briefing, Wednesday, Phiri welcomed calls to castrate sexual offenders, saying she was happy the suggestion had come from a Men’s Network.

“We are so happy that it is coming from men, so if castrating the perpetrators would be a solution, it is welcome, because it has come from you,” Phiri said.

And Phiri said most intellectual women feared joining politics because of the insults they had to endure.

“Intellectuals are fearing to come into politics because of the insults. They take that every woman who comes into politics is a prostitute. And they will be called names. I was disappointed when the students insulted the honorable here, I wanted to protest alone. I would have protested because look at this woman, she has gone for a funeral, she is not even part of the policing, she is a mother, but instead of respecting the minister, she was insulted by students. So it is because of the bullying and the respect that we don’t give women, that they are fearing to come into the open,” she said.

“Those women who do not have thick skin like honorable minister here, Dora, who can receive blows, insults and everything and is still standing and competing fairly with men. you will find that others who are educated, who want to be what Dora Siliya is, will say ah, what they go through is too much. So my appeal to our male counterparts is that let us respect [women]n and stop the verbal gender based violence which social media has encouraged.”

Meanwhile, Phiri said government was working towards making gender-based violence cases non-bailable and non-withdrawable.

“However, even though the current statistics are painting a negative picture of the situation of gender-based violence in Zambia, it is gratifying to note that a number of victims are now coming out in the open to report. We take it as a strength in the fight against gender-based violence for it gives the victim a chance to get justice. Increasing cases of GBV can also imply increased awareness against the vice. The ministry has been meeting various stakeholders to prevent cases of gender-based violence. And mitigate the impact. The Ministry of Gender is working towards a situation where GBV cases will be non bailable, and people not to be allowed to withdraw cases,” she said.

“The ministry is also working with other stakeholders to sensitise the women, men and communities in general to break the norms and values that influence people to committing GBVs. It is an offence under the laws of Zambia and it carries very stiff punishment. As a Ministry we are also working towards harmonising the laws that govern gender-based violence so that its easier for the police to handle gender-based violence cases.”

Phiri lamented that government did not seem to be winning the fight against gender-based violence.

“As a Minister of Gender, I am here to share with you the press the national picture of gender-based violence. The national picture of gender-based violence can be understood from cases reported to the police. The cases have been on the rise. We have also seen on stories of GBV, reported in the press and disappointed enough we are seeing even leaders, female leaders mainly being insulted on social media. You know there are some classes of gender-based violence. It can be verbal, physical, sexual or the common one is when people are fighting,” said Phiri.

“As Minister of Gender I have been on record condemning such vices, such acts. According to the Police during the third quarter of 2018 where 6114 cases where reported to police, of this number 3702 where women while 1186 were men. 100 were girls, 226 boys. Up to the end of the third quarter there were 18, 128 cases reported for gender-based violence of various forms. In addition, the latest survey also revealed that 48 percent of women aged between 15 to 49 have experienced gender-based violence at some point in their life. 42 percent of women aged 20-24 were married off by the age of 18. This means that the issue of GBV is still very, very serious in our country especially against women and girls. We are extremely concerned as a government. We seem not to be winning the battle and we need to work harder with all citizens joining hands, it also indicates that gender inequality is still high in our communities. Implying that women’s lower status in relation to men in our societies and communities can be attributed to GBV.”