Violence against women and girls (VAWG) happens all over the world in various forms while the nature, scale and prevalence differ by continent, region or country. We observe and add our voices in condemnation of the recent rape cases reported by RFI on Saturday morning of 7 October 2015, of a two and five year old girl children, the later gang raped by three men. This is outrageous and we solemnly condemn this act and urge global condemnation of this sinuous act and also ask the government of India to prosecute the perpetrators.
Sexual and domestic violence happens so very frequently worldwide. In the Gambia, the silent killer of many women and girls is female genital mutilation (FGM) and it is shrouded in secrecy justifying it as religion, Islam in particular and culture. FGM in any form is a violation of the bodily integrity of women and girls and cause an everlasting effect/scar on their sexual and reproductive health rights. The later concerns women’s bodies and must be respected. Women’s body’s matters and the nature and formation are paramount.
GAMCOTRAP recognizes the level of ignorance in the Gambia more-so the custodians of the culture and therefore intensifies its engagement at community levels targeting all sectors of society. These sectors include local authorities (the Governors, Chiefs and Village Heads locally referred to as Alkalolu), women leaders, women of reproductive age, Islamic scholars and the youth boys and girls among others. They are taken through carefully selected modules that provide them with relevant knowledge to make a case. The results from these activities being the constant but steady public declarations by cutters to drop their cutting instruments, The Dropping Of the Knife D.O.K ceremony, and denounce FGM. Four of such declarations were made from 2007 to 2013 in four administrative regions of the Gambia supported by all their communities and local authorities. Proudly, GAMCOTRAP can stick their neck out for saving the lives of thousands of young girls who may have been victims of FGM in these regions.
GAMCOTRAP continues to intensify its advocacy strategy at rural community levels and lobby with the government to make the Gambia FGM free by 2020 provided the needed resources are available to facilitate/accelerate the process. In this vein, GAMCOTRAP gathered all the ex-cutters from the D.O.K zones to rise and affirm their commitment, show solidarity and at the same time with a loud voice urge the government to legislate against FGM.
IT IS THE WOMEN WHOSE BODY MATTERS AND NOT A PALIARMENT DOMINATED BY MEN
END VIOLENCE IN ANY FORM AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
The next public declaration (DOK) is slated for the 25 November 2015 in Niamina Jarreng, a provincial community 3 hours drive from the capital Banjul. All are invited.
Photos from the Dropping Of The Knife ceremonies in Rural Gambia provided by Gamcotrap: