Friday, April 15, 2011
Violence against Women ‘Most Shameful Human Rights Violation’
NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- Violence against women is perhaps the ‘most shameful human rights violation’, and it is perhaps the most pervasive and it knows no boundary of geographical, culture or wealth as it can be done to anyone in the four continent of the world, were the strong words of Isatou Bittaye.
Bittaye is the vice chairperson of Kanifing/Banjul Peace Ambassadors The Gambia (PAG) as well a faculty member of PAG, was presenting a paper over the weekend at the governor’s office in Brikama, West Coast Region.
She continued: “as long as violence against women continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace.”
According to her, gender-based violence is not the inevitable result of armed conflict, but as she puts it, “we may be led to believe, but women are rather deliberately used as true ‘bargaining chip’ and weapons of war in order to break the family balance and that of communities.”
She lectured, violence against women means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
Bittaye remarked that it is violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman, or violence that affects women disproportionately noting that it includes acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such, she went on to explained that, are acts of coercion and other deprivations of liberty, going further citing Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recommendation No.19 paragraph. 7.
The following, she cited as forms of gender- based violence in conflict situations that is murder, unlawful killings, torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, while pin pointing rape, sexual slavery, trafficking of women and children, sexual exploitation, force marriage, prostitution, abortion, pregnancy and subordination.
On the forms of gender-based violence in conflict situations, Bittaye cited murder, unlawful killings, torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, rape, sexual slavery, trafficking of women and children, sexual exploitation, force marriage, prostitution, abortion, pregnancy and subordination.
According to her, impact of gender-based violence can be physical saying that physical violence against women has health implications such as miscarriage in pregnancy, stillbirth, bodily harm and physical injuries, and high risk of sexual transmitted diseases infections. She adds: “it is also a violation of women’s fundamental human rights.”
She lectured; psychological violence can be due to the psychological trauma, suffering, and depression that victims undergo, noting that it can lead to post-traumatic stress and central nervous system disorders.
According to her, gender-based violence can also lead to suicide attempts and death among many victims.
Social violence, she remarked that, includes force marriage, prostitution, sexual exploitation, unintended pregnancy, and abortion adding that victims of gender-based violence are sometimes being branded as community outcasts due to the stigma associated with sexual abuse of refusal by family due to force pregnancy or rape.
She pointed out that gender discrimination such as inequity and imbalance for getting a job can cause victims more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.