Phalombe: PhalombeWomen’s forum says lack of economic independence is one of the major factors that make women vulnerable to gender based violence and HIV/AIDS in the district.
Director for the Forum, Phyllis Jailosi said in an interview with Malawi News Agency Thursday when responding to recent reports from Phalombe Police Station that revealed a rise in cases of gender based violence (GBV) against women and girls in the district.
According to Jailosi, when women and girls are victimized in their homes, their safe sex negotiation powers are automatically compromised, leaving them exposed to sexually transmitted infections including HIV and AIDS.
Most of the GBV cases in Phalombe continue to take place because most of the women are not economically dependent, as such, they continue to cling to abusive husbands for the sake of survival, unfortunately these men seem to capitalize on that factor and continue to abuse them, said Jailosi.
She added that in a marriage or relationship where GBV rules, there is no room for discussion on protecting each other from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV and AIDS.
HIV and AIDS Coordinator for Phalombe Police Station, Rose Chiwaya said there was need to empower the women economically which she said would ensure that they have a say in the family setup.
Chiwaya said women who are economically dependent are capable of setting goals and achieving them on their own without relying on a man. She said this keeps them safe from catching STIs and the HIV/AIDS scourge.
Commenting on the same, Phalombe District Council HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Annie Chimalizeni hailed the cordial relationship existing between the local council and non-governmental organizations, saying it facilitates smooth running of the fight against women’s vulnerability to HIV and AIDS.
Chimalizeni, however, expressed fear that the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS in the district could easily be undermined by the rise in gender based violence if proper measures are not put in place to curb it.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA