US Embassy hosts forum on gender-based violence

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By Aisha Tamba

As part of efforts to reaffirm its commitment to promoting democracy, advancing human rights, and furthering gender equity and equality, the United States Embassy in Banjul yesterday held a forum on gender-based violence.

The Embassy joins the global campaign marking 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in collaboration with the Women’s Association for Victim Empowerment (WAVE).

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The forum was a panel discussion that brought together activists and government stakeholders to discuss gender-based violence in The Gambia at the Key Art Gallery in Kanifing Estate. 

Speaking at the event, Chargé d’affaires, U.S. Embassy Banjul, Eric R. Mehler, said the United States is proud to partner with others who work to end gender-based violence, recognizing that it is still a pervasive human rights abuse.

“Sadly, one in three women and girls worldwide will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetimes – a number that has largely unchanged over the past decade.

As the father of a very young daughter, I am disturbed by this statistic and truly want her generation to be different.”

He highlighted that the embassy recognises women and girls in rural areas, who are largely affected by patriarchal social systems.

“Gender-based violence is a form of discrimination, a manifestation of unequal power, and a public health crisis around the world. Despite great strides to prevent and respond to the pervasiveness of gender-based violence globally, violence remains deeply entrenched in gender and social norms and persists in homes, schools, communities, and workplaces. And we cannot forget women and girls in rural areas, who are largely affected by patriarchal social systems, as well as cultural and traditional norms which stifle gains to achieve gender equality and the full realization of individual rights and freedoms.

It is important that we all educate ourselves and others about violence against women and girls, which is why we are hosting this event today. Our participants, including advocates and community leaders, will discuss the impact of Gender-Based Violence, and the way forward.

“Although we are acknowledging the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, let us advance our efforts and activism long after these events conclude.

We will continue to partner with you to empower women and girls, and make ending this violence a priority,” he stated.