16 Days Of Activism: Fighting Gender-Based Violence In Africa

The United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism campaign against all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) started on the November 25, – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and will end on December 10. GBV in Africa can be traced to gender-suppressive traditions and norms that do not only permit violence against women, but also protect perpetrators and stigmatise victims.

The problem of GBV has significantly affected African societies. A report by One World Centre suggests that 1 in 3 women (36.6%) in Africa have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and six African countries have no legal protection for women against domestic violence. In Kenya, 43% of women between 15-49 years had experienced some form of gender-based violence, while in Ethiopia more than half of the women have experienced a form of sexual violence.

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Despite the unsavoury picture of gender-based violence in Africa, there is hope! Civil Society Organisations are at the heart of Africas efforts to fight violence against women. Below are some of the stories of progress from different countries across the continent:

Zimbabwe Leonard Cheshire Disability

Zimbabwe is providing specialized services in 10 districts, for women and girls with disability who have experienced violence.

Congo Womens Initiative for Gender Justice has provided access to medical support to over 1000 survivors of gender-based violence.

Tunisia Passed the first comprehensive national law to combat violence against women and support survivors. The new law provides a better protection structure that upholds stiff sanctions for perpetrators as against the collective selective amnesia that conveniently ignores perpetrators.

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Malawi Concern Worldwide has reached about 40,000 women and girl survivors by creating safe learning environments in 17 schools, to counter gender-based violence.

Morocco – Initiatives pour la protection des droits des femmes has assisted about 600 survivors of violence with psychosocial counselling and legal assistance.

These initiatives and campaigns are commendable, but we need a more inclusive solution. 16 Days of Activism provides a simple way to lend your voice to this cause. Click here to be part of the campaign.

Elimination of violence against girls and women is still the goal. Africa is not there yet, but we are positively somewhere.

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