By Vincent Gunde
Social media has from last week been a washed with a video of a poor and helpless woman being stripped naked by a whole village in broad daylight subjected to such kind of treatment as a punishment for an act of adultery.
The people in the video instead of sympathizing with the woman stripped naked, seem to enjoy the act as if it is not the abused woman is a mother, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a cousin to many in that village, this is a very shameful act to do to a person in front of her relations and the whole world.
Deeply touched and disturbed by the video clip, Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Dr. Patricia Anne Kaliati, has called for all stakeholders and those who have information to share with the Malawi Police Service and the Ministry so that together trace the perpetrators of the evil act.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Dr. Kaliati said the Malawi laws are very clear, saying the perpetrators of the Balaka incident have been arrested and will soon face the long arm of the law.
Dr. Kaliati assured Malawians that Government will do its best to find and apprehend the culprits saying it cannot tolerate such an act as it grossly violates the rights and dignity of women in the society.
She said preliminary findings indicate that while there is strong evidence to believe that the case happened in one of the central region districts, people on the ground are not able to confirm the place where it happened.
The Minister thanked the Malawi Police Service for their efforts in leading the investigations commending media houses that have already started airing out messages encouraging those who may have information regarding the case to report through the relevant structures.
She said what happened to the woman is a harmful act prohibited by the Gender Equality Act which attracts 5 years imprisonment and MK1 million fine calling for concerted efforts to trace the woman and also apprehend the suspects.
“All of us are duty bound to report using various channels including toll free lines of 116 and 5600,” said Kaliati.
Dr. Kaliati then, encouraged Malawians to desist from using the nudity and sexuality of women as a form of punishment for conflict resolution saying the Ministry will not relent but ensure that anyone who engaged in such kind of malpractices is prosecuted accordingly.
She said it the responsibility of all to promote the dignity and wellbeing of vulnerable groups including women and girls saying her Ministry will also provide the required psychosocial support to the victimized woman once she has been identified considering the long-term consequences that the incident may have on her life.