For the month of July, the Sex Rights Africa Rights Network (SRAN) hosted a Gender Based Violence (GBV) webinar series aimed at giving young people the platform to address GBV in their communities.
According to the United Nation’s Population Fund, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, excluding emotional, financial, or verbal abuse. However, GBV is largely under reported because of stigma and the lack of access to resources and support systems.
UN Women highlights that in recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #NotOneMore and others, have put the spotlight on the issue of sexual violence and have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored anymore.
The first discussion was led by young women, who argued that due to systemic gender inequality, GBV continued to thrive in their communities. They argued that the cycle of violence is further perpetuated by lack of justice, a shortage of available resources and lack of economic opportunities which leads to the survivor being dependent on the abuser.
Addressing GBV in our society is a collective responsibility and it is significant that men and boys are active participants and promoters of change to change the current status quo – SRAN ensured that the young men were part of the discussion, zooming into the role and responsibility of young men in the fight to end GBV.
In the spirit of leaving no one behind, one of the sessions was aimed at amplifying the voice of queer youth, further unpacking GBV among the queer community which is often not discussed while LGBTIQ+ individuals continue to be disappropriately impacted by GBV because of who they are. The discussion further unpacked the vulnerability of queer women in Africa who have become victims of ‘correct rape’ because of misogyny and sexism in their communities.
The sessions echoed how women in their diversity continued to be sexualised – and in our quest to end GBV, this had to stop, in our homes, workplaces and communities.
The young people highlighted the importance of the sensitisation and education of law enforcement officers that dealt with GBV cases. They further highlighted the importance of allies and involving men and boys in GVB campaigns and interventions. The conversation also echoed the importance of the use of policies and conventions to ensure that governments adequately address GBV – moving away from rhetoric to action and implementation especially now as many countries remain on lockdown which has further exacerbating the vulnerability of women and queer youth to GBV.
Watch part 1 here: Moving towards action – Ending GBV! What Young Women Want.
Watch part 2 here: A conversation on GBV – Involving Young men in our efforts against GBV
Watch part 3 here: A conversation with Queer Youth: Addressing GBV in the Queer Community