TRRC: Gender-Based Violence Begins at Child Birth – Activist

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EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: A health specialist cum gender activists told the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that gender-based violence is a phenomenon in The Gambia that starts as soon as a woman gives birth.

Haddy Mboge- Barrow had been asked to discuss gender-based violence in its true shape in the country as the Commission goes into the ninth session.

She said the segregation of the female child from her male counterpart is in itself violation of human right. “I always tell people that gender-based violence starts immediately you give birth, as a woman. If that baby becomes a baby girl, that’s where it starts.”

In her view, “Somebody whether a family, a husband, whether as sister-in-law, whether a mother-in-law, [they would ask] wow, why is she bringing a baby girl. Why not a baby boy? It starts right there [and] that’s a violation of the right of that woman who underwent pregnancy for nine months.”

On the same context, she testified that as the child grows up, one can vividly see the way society promote inequality between the two. “Even the toys we buy suggest imposition of gender roles within the household”, she stated.

Haddy who works for One-Stop-Centre, a network in gender service since 2013, said, they have recorded so many cases gender-based violence for both children and adults especially in 2014.

She disclosed that “rape and defilement were the most reported cases” with other cases being molesting and sexual harassment which are also in the increase.

Explaining her organizational approach to enumerate cases of gender-based violence, Mboge-Barrow narrated that, her organization collected data of alleged perpetrators and survivors, and also made reporting forms and registers to collect issues related to sexual violence in different locations in the country.
“The care team met at a quarterly to verify the data in order to avoid duplication, challenges and [discuss] what could be done to prevent sexual violence.”

For her gender-based violence was institutionalised, alluding to the fact that even the Gambian police has a poor handling mechanism, when it comes to gender-based violence.
“The way the police was handling case of gender-based violence was [as in the cases of] any other assaulted”, she said, noting that her network was compelled to issue guidelines and training for stakeholders including the police.

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