News Report on One Billion Rising on V-Day 2014
Over two hundred women, men, young people in and out of school, journalists, differently-abled people with visual impairment, physical disability and hard of hearing all joined the global “One Billion Rising for Justice” in the Gambia which was led by GAMCOTRAP in partnership with The Association of Non- Governmental Organizations – (TANGO) members. The Rising for Justice took the form of a march- pass led by the Scout Band from Kairaba Avenue to TANGO head Office, followed by statements, performances such as Poems, monologue, drama, music and dancing all calling for an end to all forms of gender based violence against women and girls.
Various Civil Society groups rising for Justice to end Violence Against Women
The glaring figures on the state of violence against women were captured in a statement by Senior Programme Coordinator of GAMCOTRAP, Mrs. Mary Small. She appreciated the efforts being made in the Gambia through advocacy led by NGOs and legislation by the state to end all forms of sexual harassment and domestic violence. Mrs. Small however highlighted the lack of a specific law to prohibit FGM which is a harmful traditional practice that inflict harm and a form of violence against women and girls in the Gambia. Despite the call for communities to end Female Genital Mutilation through the public declarations by 128 circumcisers with 900 communities, there is political will to ensure that the government’s commitment to end FGM as stated in the international, regional and national laws are not undermined due to lack of a clear cut law to protect girls and women from FGM.
High table at the rising at TANGO head Office
Gambian Risers getting set for March Pass
National Programme Officer – Gender at UNFPA, Mrs. Fatou Kinteh noted that UNFPA is supporting the Gambia through various institutions and organizations to end violence against women using advocacy and community outreach activities. She appreciated the results that led to the Dropping of the Knife celebration by 30 circumcisers in the Central River Region North where over 336 communities joined the public declaration in 2013. She concluded that Violence against women is unacceptable.
Cross-section of Civil Society and students join march pass
Chairing the ceremony at TANGO, Programme Manager, Madi Jorbarteh said Violence against Women is a political issue that is embedded in socio-cultural environment that affects women and called for a change in mindset and political action, enforced laws and resources. Mr. Jobarteh called on all to stand up for justice because is unjust for 49 % of the population to continue to perpetuate injustice on over 50% of the people.
Lawyer Sagarr Jahateh of the Female Lawyers Association of the Gambia (FLAG) noted that efforts to make justice accessible to women have been made. She highlighted some of the FLAG’s activities which include women seeking redress through law reform and popularising the Domestic Violence Act. Lawyer Jahateh made reference to data collected in the Gambia which revealed that 86% of secondary school girls have faced one form of sexual harassment and in 2012, 55% of pregnant women were victims of sexual harassment from their partner. She advised the crowd at the “One Billion Rising for Justice” event to speak out against all forms of violence because women and girls have the right to be protected but they are hindered by the socio –cultural taboos to keep violence a secret affair.
The Executive Director of TANGO, Ousman Yarbo in welcoming the crowd said oppression should not be tolerated because it contributes to violence in society. He urged all to stand up for justice and be a “Mandela” to earn freedom in our society.
Performances at the Gambia Rising for Justice 2014
The Rising for justice in the Gambia also availed the audience to make comments and asked questions on violence against women and girls that promotes non discrimination and called for an end to female genital mutilation in particular.
Different artists performed and entertained the audience with songs calling for an end to violence against women.
The local media also played a crucial role to publicize the 2014 One Billion Rising for justice with radio panel discussions and phone-in, talks and news coverage to justify the need to rise for justice and end all forms of violence against women and girls.
Meanwhile the V-Day Coordinator for West Africa, Dr. Isatou Touray has completed a capacity building tour in Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Mali and Senegal to help grassroots women’s organizations to build their movements and join the one billion rising to end gender based violence. She expressed satisfaction with what she has seen in the various countries and noted that there is determination to end violence in all parts of the world. She observed the need for solidarity amongst women and called on the governments to enforce their policies and laws to protect women and girls from all forms of violence.
V-Day Coordinator, Dr. Isatou Touray on tour of West Africa on the One Billion Rising 2014 in Port Loko District, Sierra Leone,Katy District Mali
The One Billion Rising is a global initiative led by Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day to promote grassroots movements to highlight the magnitude of gender based violence, encourage the public and organisations celebrate the women survivors for their courage to rise for justice to bring an end to violence.
Prepared by GAMCOTRAP
17th February 2014