‘At some time during her life, one in every three women in the world will be killed, beaten, forced to have sex or otherwise abu
sed. Young women are more likely to be raped or subjected to domestic violence than to be afflicted by cancer, traffic accidents, war or malaria,’ said Mr. Anders B. Johnsson, Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretary General in one of his annual reports.
Further revelations on UNIFEM factsheet include:
‘More than 20 percent of women are reported to have been abused by men with whom they live.’
‘Among women aged 15-44 years, gender-based violence accounts for more death and disability among women than the combined effects of cancer, malaria, traffic injuries and war.’
These among other appalling revelations about violence against women seem to have pushed some young people in the Gambia into action the global menace of gender based violence. A group of young girls and women called the Girls Agenda is one of those. The Girls Agenda, cofounded by Ms. Oumie Sissokho comprises about thirty young women and girls in the town of Brikama, regional capital for the West Coast Region.
On Tuesday 1st May 2012, the Network Against Gender Based Violence held a training session for the Girls Agenda at the Gambia College campus in Brikama. Speaking to participants, Ms oumie Sissokho advised the young girls to remain resilient but determined to stamp out gender based violence. She noted that the consequences of violence against women; violation of women’s fundamental human rights, perpetuating the subordination of women and the unequal distribution of power between women and men among other are too expensive to be ignore. ‘It further reduces the capacity of victims and survivors to contribute productively to the family, the economy and public life and Lowers the overall educational attainment, mobility and innovative potential of the victims’, she noted.
Ms. Sissokho who is also Nova ScotiaGambia Association’s (NSGA) representative at the Network Against Gender Based Violence warned participants against fear in their crusade. ‘Many victims are afraid to report violence, especially if the person who has hurt them is more powerful and could harm them again and victims may be afraid that if others know about the violence, they will be blamed or isolated.’
As part of activities marking international women’s day 1999, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Inter-Agency Videoconference for a World Free of Violence against Women, in New York on 8 March stated: ‘Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And, it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.’