THE Zambia National Men’s Network for Gender and Development has called on government to increase budget support to the Victim Support Unit and recognise the international men’s day.
And the Network has urged government to establish sexual offenders’ prisons as a means of fighting gender-based violence
National coordinator Nelson Banda said as the country joined the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 Days of Gender Activism against gender-based violence, the Men’s Network called on government to allocate more funds to the Victim Support Unit of the Zambia Police Service.
“Most of the government departments are well resourced with adequate transport such as latest Landcruisers and yet the VSU which investigates complex sexual offences has acute shortages of transport, thereby limiting investigation and following up perpetrators,” he said. “Commemorating International Men’s Day is important to focus on the health and well-being of men, to promote and encourage positive male role models, celebrate the positive contributions of men towards family, communities, promote gender equality by creating a better and safer place for everyone, encourage men to teach boys about positive values, character and responsibilities of being a man, to allow men to live lives of principles, character, values and also to encourage men to start opening up to communicate about issues affecting them.”
He said statistics that were released on a quarterly basis by the Zambia Police Service was evidence enough that there was need for the government to allocate more resources to the victim support unit.
Banda said the Men’s Network believed that addressing men’s poor health, seeking behaviour, emotional and mental wellbeing would be a more sustainable way of preventing men’s abuse of women and girls’ rights.
He said it was also high time the country considered establishing the sexual offenders’ prison to quarantine culprits.
Banda said this would send a strong message to would be sexual offenders that they risked being sent to a sexual offender prison, should they be found guilty of violating the body integrity of women and girls.
He said it would also mobilise shame on the perpetrators as a preventive measure.
Banda said it was very disturbing to learn that over 12,000 girls were violated in Eastern Province; meaning that there were 12,000 defilers in the area who should have been in jail.