There is a saying that if you educate a man, you have educated an individual but if you educate a woman, you have educated a nation. It is also true that if you kill a man you have committed murder but if you kill a woman, you have committed genocide. Women are the ones who bear children and take care of them. Killing or raping a woman is therefore a crime worse than murder.
During the course of the past week, it was reported that the alleged killer of the young woman who was found murdered – which was reported in the papers had – been arrested. That is good news. At least that is one mystery about to be solved. If said suspect is found guilty by a court of law and sentenced, it will bring some closure (not much solace though) to the family of the victim.
Of recent; however, the above achievement will appear like a drop in the ocean. There have been reports of rapes, robberies and killings of young women to a level that should raise the alarm for every genuine Gambian. The women of this country are becoming worried and some reportedly always have second thoughts before they go out of their houses; or, come down from their vehicles for fear of being attacked.
It goes without saying that no country can develop without the active participation of its womenfolk. The Gambia will not move forward without our women enjoying complete protection against every type of violence; be that domestic violence, robbery, rape, intimidation, sexual harassment or killing. Everyone must have the full and complete confidence in his/her security. People must be made to feel safe; that their persons and properties will come to no harm.
It is high time government came up with a broad solution to this problem. This approach must be comprehensive, multidimensional and inclusive. Thus, consultations must be made to get the insight of women’s groups, security experts, rights’ activists and gender groups. We must confront this menace comprehensively to ensure that no perpetrator escapes the net.
Laws must also be made which will not only expedite the punishment of culprits but make said punishment severe enough to serve as deterrent to others who may contemplate doing similar things. Also, there must be advocacy to raise the awareness of society on these issues.