The entire membership of the Network against Gender-Based Violence and its partners strongly condemned the video report that is currently in circulation on social media in which a child survivor of sexual violence was interviewed.
The way and manner the interview was recorded was not only re-traumatising for the child, his parents and many people who watched the video but also exposed the identity of the survivor and his family which is against the provisions of the Children’s Act 2005. Therefore, we call on all media houses to desist from such practices and always use victim centered, ethical and professional ways of reporting SGBV cases according to the laws of The Gambia and the SGBV Media Reporting Code of Conduct.
We are also concerned to learn that members of the public especially neighbours and relatives as well as media personnel have been visiting the family to share their grief and collect information about the case. Although this might be done in good faith and as part of our tradition, this act is not helpful to the family. It only adds pressure and exposes the family to repeated trauma by narrating the ordeal without any professional support. This can worsen their traumatic situation. Thus, we urge members of the public and the media to desist from such, use victim centered approaches and apply the ‘Do NO Harm’ principle in their interaction with the survivor and his family. The media can get reliable information through service providers which will be given in depth and ensure the protection and empowerment of the survivor and his family.
We would like to call on the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare to put in place measures to protect survivors. Especially children, from such harmful media reporting in the future and to allocate resources for the full implementation of laws that protect and safeguard against SGBV. We also urge the National Assembly to monitor and follow up on relevant ministries on the level of implementation of these laws and policies.
The network and its partners would like to assure the general public that it will continue to advocate for the primary prevention and response to SGBV and the protection of victims/survivors in the country. The general public, Government and development partners are urged to put more efforts and resources to address the upsurge of sexual violence in The Gambia.
We look forward to a society where vulnerable women, men, children and people with disabilities are free from the fear and actual experience of violence. As no one is safe until all of us are safe.