Increasing gender- based violence in Malawi, has forced thousands of women to the streets of Lilongwe, protesting death of over seven women from domestic violence.
Women’s rights activists in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, braved hot weather Thursday to protest recent domestic violence in which seven women were slain or disfigured by their partners.
The used the opportunity to create more awareness for women as well as demand for protection of women.
According to Agency reports, the protesters, many of them women, wore black attire, and at one point they lay in the street to symbolize mourning, chanting for support for their fellow women and solidiarity.
They carried banners and placards that read: “Violence against women is an offense, not a private issue,” “Ending gender violence starts with me, I stand against it;” and “Don’t be silent, speak up against intimate partners’ violence.”
Incidents that triggered the protests included the death of a young mother who was killed by her husband in southern Malawi for refusing to open the door for him when he returned from a night of drinking;
and deep cuts on the face a police officer’s wife in Lilongwe, who was beaten by her husband because he suspected her of dating another man.
And there was the tragic death of Miriam Siula, 30, who was stabbed with a knife by her ex-boyfriend in Lilongwe after she ended the relationship.
Emma Kaliya, national coordinator for an NGO called Gender Coordination Network, an umbrella body of women’s rights organizations in Malawi, was reported to have told VOA that domestic violence is not an isolated occurrence in Malawi, but what is most worrying is the form it now has taken.
“Maybe in the old days, we used to know the beating, maybe the shouting, and also maybe stalking,” she said.
“But now we are seeing a different one, where people are literally using small arms to harm others. Like, they are using guns, they are using knives, stabbing women, or literally using an ax.”