At a press conference on Monday, the country’s leading feminist stated: “We rise, we dance, we demand for justice but now we want change in perceptions and attitudes to dismantle patriarchy and change institutions to take responsibility to end violence against women. The women are daughters, wives, mothers, aunts, sisters, nieces, grandmothers, neighbors and friends, so we all have a responsibility to protect girls and women from gender-based violence.”
The press briefing was held as part of the ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign to end violence against women.
Dr Isatou Touray, who is the executive director of Gamcotrap and the campaign coordinator in West Africa said: “We must create the change in our communities and societies. One Billion Rising Revolution is an escalation of our campaign. We have demanded justice. Now we are demanding changes. The whole world is involved in this One Billion Rising campaign – everybody, and everywhere. The campaign is viral. I call on all countries in West Africa to engage in this V-Day (Valentine’s Day 2015) One Billion Rising revolution and demand an end to violence against women, sexual violence and promote women and children’s rights. The voice of the people is the voice of God. The power of the people is a very powerful tool where the voices are amplified and call for attention to injustices that are taking place.“
Commenting on outlawing FGM, she said: “We are working towards outlawing female genital mutilation (FGM), and I am sure it will be outlawed one day. Already, discussions have been going on; communities have already outlawed FGM especially those ones that have the right information through the public declaration on abandoning FGM but putting a specific law in place is a human right, a matter of states fulfilling their obligations. If you have ratified all international instruments, what remains is fulfilling that and put the law in place just like all other laws put in place. I think this is a matter of time but it will happen. I do not know why the delay but we have reached a point that outlawing FGM should happen and The Gambia will do that because it is the policy of the government. FGM has no religious justification.”
She added, “Through our efforts, we have mobilised, engaged, awakened and joined people worldwide to end violence against women. We made violence against women a global human rights issue not relegated to one country, tribe, class, or religion. We revealed it as a patriarchal mandate, present in every culture of the world. In our justice campaign, we made visible, volatile and impacting connections between violence against women and economic, environmental, racial, gender injustices. We formed new and hopefully lasting coalitions between existing groups and individuals not only within the women’s movement but also between people’s movements covering diverse sectors.”]]>