Zambia: Fighting Gender-Based Violence
Friday, November 2, 2012 10:25 AM

Cornell Law School’s Avon Center for Women and Justice released a report on sexual harassment and sexual violence against school girls in Zambia. Executive director of the center and lead researcher Elizabeth Brundige says, “The report sheds light on a really serious international rights abuse happening in Zambia.” According to the research, 54 percent of female students interviewed had personally experienced some form sexual violence or harassment at the hands of a teacher, classmates, or men they passed coming and going to and from school.
A challenge to fighting sexual violence against school girls in Zambia is that girls hesitate to report abuses. Ms. Brundige believes, “It’s a cycle of violence. Girls felt like if they reported nothing would happen and the perpetrators wouldn’t be punished. Therefore they didn’t report it and their cases never came to light.” Moreover, often after reporting girls might be blamed and stigmatized.
The Ministry of Education is drafting a National Child Protection Policy for Schools. Experts believe that having a policy will help to implement necessary measures, but educating students in schools on how to prevent sexual violence and providing resources and counseling to victims is also crucial.
Compiled from: Freleng, Maggie, Zambian Schoolgirls Face Rampant Sexual Violence, Womens E-News (Oct. 30, 2012).