Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Misreading of Culture Leaves Women Suffering in Silence

The misreading of cultural norms and values leaves women suffering in silence from mistreatment by men and even fellow women, said Amie Bojang-Sissoho, programme coordinator of GAMCOTRAP, a women’s rights NGO.  
Mrs Bojang-Sissoho made these remarks recently while addressing over 75 participants in a three-day sensitisation programme on, among others, gender based violence held at Lamin village, Kombo North.
Aside female circumcision, the rights activist said, wife battering, forced and early marriage is also common in The Gambia and is being associated with culture even though it traumatises women, who are accepting it as their fate.  
“Men should not batter their wives because they feel they are men. Any man who thinks that he can do whatever he wants is ignorant. The body of a woman should be respected,” she said.
The rights activist said, women should not be forced into marriage, adding that early marriage is a violation of women’s right.    
“These are dangerous practices that should be avoided inorder for us to shape the future of the girl child,” she said.
Meanwhile, the event which brought together local government authorities, community leaders, women leaders, among others from various villages in Kombo North was organised by GAMCOTRAP.
Jointly funded by Save the Children Sweden and UN Women Trust Fund, the sensitisation is part of the second phase of the project that seeks to accelerate the abandonment of FGM.
GAMCOTRAP is a women’s rights advocacy group that has been fighting, through sensitisation, to eliminate harmful traditional practices, especially FGM, in The Gambia for the past 28 years.

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