By Nation Reporter
THE harassment of women on the streets of Lusaka has reached dangerous levels and law enforcement agents have been asked to step in and stop the vice.
The women demanded that harassment of women on the street should not be tolerated because they too had a right to move freely.
Mercy Moyo, a victim of harassment, described the vice as one of the most devastating forms of gender based violence (GBV).
Ms Moyo claimed that very little attention was being directed towards the matter because many people viewed women harassment as a minor issue.
“Verbal harassment is rarely talked about, yet a lot of women face it on a daily basis especially at bus stations.
I have been a victim countless times and I can assure you that it limits one’s mobility and access to public places.
“It is a form of gender based violence and it’s a human rights violation which has to be stopped, it’s totally wrong,” she said.
Another victim Suwilanji Nalwimba called on law enforcers to take the issue more seriously and ensure that stern action was taken against the perpetrators.
“There is need for the police to scale up and arrest the culprits because if such action is taken, women won’t have to go through such harassment on the street. Instead they will be respected,” she said.
However, some men blamed the women for encouraging the behaviour because of their seductive dressing.
George Banda said that many women were harassed because of improper dressing as they walked around almost naked
Mr. Banda said most women wore seductive clothes, hence attracting men to start harassing them.
“Some women cause this on themselves. They wear revealing clothes, that’s why they are harassed especially by call-boys. I don’t think someone who’s decently dressed would experience that,” he said.
And women and gender activist Gladys Mutukwa condemned the iniquity and said that women had the right to be safe on the street just as men do.
Ms. Mutukwa urged the courts to impose tougher penalties for perpetrators so as to create a safe space for women.
“Government must put up a stiff law that will help in addressing this issue because it’s now becoming a normal thing which shouldn’t be the case.
‘‘Women need to feel safe and free to walk on the street without fear of being harassed,” she said.