MEDIA Network for Child Rights and Development executive director Henry Kabwe has called for the Child Protection Unit of the Zambia Police Service to be more proactive in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

In an interview, Kabwe observed that as the world commemorated 16 Days of Activism Against GBV, it was important that cases of sexual abuse were reported, even if they were committed several years ago.

“You find out that even in work places, there are people that are threatened that they will be fired if they don’t give in to the supervisors, which is a very big trend. I have heard a lot of people saying, ‘they are at loggerheads with their supervisors,’ but they are not willing to report them so it’s a clarion call for us during these 16 Days of Activism to ensure that people are made to speak out. If you were raped, if someone was defiled even many years ago, like it was happening with various celebrities in the United States, even if somebody did something 20 years ago, we need to come out and report so that this trend should stop. As long as girls and women keep silent, the trend will continue. So, there is need for us to ensure that we encourage them to report, and as media, we also need to ensure that we come up with programmes of sensitisation and just to make people report these cases so that the nation is aware and people may desist from involving themselves in such kinds of vices,” Kabwe said.

He added that there were many abuse cases happening in homes and work places, among others, but were still not being reported for fear of stigma against the victims.

“There are so many cases of abuse taking place within our society from homes, from work places, in the political arena and other spaces, and women and girls tend to feel that it will be embarrassing for them to report the cases as if it was their fault. And you find that a lot of people would rather remain quiet and just stomach the whole pain and go through the cycle of serious setbacks because, psychologically, your lifestyle is actually altered because of the experiences of sexual abuse and sexual harassment. You find that in homes, grandfathers are sleeping with small girls because from our work and the outreaches we are having, we have seen that there are so many paedophiles in this country and there is need for us to start sensitising the girls to be able to bring out information and report them and also popularise the toll free number so that they are supposed to report to and ensure that the Child Protection Unit of the Zambia Police does more to raise awareness because I think the Child Protection Unit has been more reactive than proactive so we need that,” said Kabwe.

Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against GBV from November 25 to December 10 under the theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”