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Take a stand against Rape! #WomensMarch2021

Photo credit: Sistah sistah foundation

In the true spirit of Ubuntu, Saturday 11th September 2021 saw Zambians from different parts of Lusaka and Kitwe come together as one in a March against sexual gender-based violence, and a challenge to the new government to make women’s issues a priority in their administration.

The March which was organized by Sistah Sistah Foundation Zambia had young people of all gender diversities come out in considerate numbers, carrying different placards all with one clear message, calling for an end to sexual violence against women and enactment of stiffer punishments for sex offenders.

Photo credit: Sistah sistah foundation

Often, if not all the time when a woman or girl gets raped, the blame is shifted to her. Rarely will the first question be to find out how she is doing but instead you hear what was she wearing? What was she doing there? What did she expect? Etc. According to our Safety Report, nine in ten did nothing when they encountered abuse.

Rape culture is a culture in which sexual violence is treated as the norm and victims are blamed for their own assaults. It's not just about sexual violence itself, but about cultural norms and institutions that protect rapists, promote impunity, shame victims, and demand that women make unreasonable sacrifices to avoid sexual assault.

It is these norms that the youth demand to be changed, silence is not consent, how one dresses is not consent, being drunk is not consent!

Rape culture pressures women to sacrifice their freedoms and opportunities in order to stay safe, because it puts the burden of safety on women's shoulders, and blames them when they don't succeed. As a result, certain opportunities are left unavailable to women.

Photo credit: Sistah sistah foundation

According to the UN Women, Zambia has one of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world, with 43 percent of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 having experienced some form of sexual violence.

Zambia has one of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world.

Moments of stolen “fulfilment’’ for the perpetrator have life-long devastating effects such as depression, suicide, low self-esteem, stigma, anxiety, diseases, and unwanted pregnancies among other effects on the victim.

The next step involves signing and delivering a petition to government.

The Women’s March was only the first step of many towards this stand. The next step involves signing and delivering a petition to government outlying the following call to actions in ending or reducing sexual gender-based violence:

1. Followed Through Justice for Victims of Sexual Assault.

2. Resuscitate the Victim Support Unit.

3. Establishment of More One Stop Centers for Victims Around the Country.

4. Creation of a Sex Offenders List.

Making a change starts with you and it starts with me, Rise up and take a stand. #IDeserveToBeHeard!

Author Bio

Kabuku Chileshe Kabwela is an embodiment of multiple skills, talents, and interests that seamlessly merge to create her life, work, and career. She is a Zambian based trained communication and PR specialist with an ability to string words together in the art of creative direction and storytelling.

Her hobbies include: writing, travelling, thrilling adventure, crafting and music.

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