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Monday, October 2, 2023

Gender-Based Violence


The latest report on gender-based violence in The Gambia makes chilling reading. The report shows that there are a lot of incidents of GBV in the past few months. The report shows that between January and July 2023 alone, there have been 117 cases of rape and a host of other forms of violence. This is alarming and something must be done to ensure that this menace ends.

The government agencies responsible for the monitoring, reporting and fighting against GBV should be commended and encouraged to increase in their efforts to make sure that women and girls feel safe wherever they may be. GBV especially rape, is such a heinous crime that no society should condone whatsoever.

It is clear that there are comprehensive laws to prevent this kind of behavior and thus, these laws must be implemented fully to make sure that whosoever is found wanting is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Examples must be set to serve as a deterrent for would-be offenders.

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare has however decried the frequent withdrawal of cases by family members from the police, thus making prosecutions difficult to come by. This is one of the problems which make it almost impossible to successfully prosecute offenders.

The minister has also disclosed plans by the Government of The Gambia to set up a specialised court for rape cases. This will certainly be a welcome move as it will go a long way in reducing the incidents in the country. Also revealed is the fact that efforts are being made to set up a forensic lab to test and preserve evidence when rape cases are reported.

Focus must also be directed towards more sensitisation as the cultural obstacle of protecting the image of the family is widespread. This somewhat makes it difficult to report cases if the culprit is a family member or a friend. The people, especially women, must be sensitized so they can understand the importance of protecting the girl-child.

The reporting mechanisms introduced by the people who fight against this evil engenders hope that if they are persistent and have the support of the population, progress would be made and there will be a great reduction in these incidents if it is not eradicated totally.

A tap on the back to the people who fight against gender-based violence is therefore in order. The entire population is hereby called upon to do their part in reporting and thus preventing more incidents of GBV.

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