Fr. Cleophas Lungu
A consortium of Church Mother bodies and Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has noted that despite a reduction in Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country, gender based violence incidences are still unacceptably high.
Oasis Forum chairperson Fr. Cleophas Lungu, has said in a statement issued on 30th November, 2016 that the levels of GBV in Zambia have reached a crisis level with 4,235 cases recorded in the 2016 third quarter only by the Zambia Police, though showing a marginal 14.5% reduction in cases compared to the 4,951 cases 2 in 2015 during the same period. Fr. Lungu who also Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) Secretary General has since observed that the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls in Zambia is the substantial funding shortfall. “The Oasis Forum realises that one of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls in Zambia is the substantial funding shortfall which has also hampered the full implementation of the Anti GBV Act of 2011, which legislated among other measures the establishment of government GBV Fund, building of safe houses, Fast-Tack Courts and One-Centres in all Provinces,” he said. And Fr. Lungu has said that although in 2016 there have been a number of cases of women allegedly killing their husbands, GBV still disproportionately affects more women than men. According to the 2013-14 Zambia Health Survey (ZDHS), 44% of women aged 15-49 have experience Physical violence at least once since the age of 15. In addition, 37% experienced physical violence within the 12 months prior to the survey while 47 percent of ever married women aged 15 -49 experienced physical, sexual and/or emotional violence from their current or most recent husband or partner. He advised that to defeat this scourge, there must be love for the neighbour by restraining oneself from inflicting physical, verbal or emotional abuse and by protecting neighbours from such abuse. “Indeed, we can find victims of GBV in every neighbourhood, men and women. The Bible tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. Thus, to defeat this scourge, we must love our neighbour by restraining ourselves from inflicting physical, verbal or emotional abuse and by protecting our neighbours from such abuse,” Fr. Lungu counselled. He also noted the effects of GBV on the country’s economy with high costs on medical care and loss of labour hours to attending to court cases, seeking medical care and general breakdown of the family support system. Instituted in 1991, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign which takes place each year from 25 November to 10th December. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. The theme for 2016 is ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls.’ Oasis Forum consists of Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, Law Association of Zambia, Council of Churches in Zambia and Non-governmental Organisation Coordinating Council.