Panafrican News Agency

Gambia VP says domestic violence still a problem

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Gambian Vice President Dr Isatou Touray has expressed concern about rights violations against women and girls, saying that despite legislations to promote and protect them, domestic, physical and sexual violence, among others, continue to pose a problem.

A statement made available to PANA on Tuesday by the State House said that in The Gambia, like in many developing countries, the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is more severe on women and girls.

For instance, the vice president said, women's personal safety has been at risk due to increased exposure to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage as lockdowns and social restrictions compelled people to stay home. 

She noted that according to the 2019-2020 Gambia Demographic Health Survey, 46% of women aged 15-49 have ever experienced physical violence while 9% of women aged 15-49 have ever experienced sexual violence.

The survey also found that 39% of married women have experienced spousal violence, whether physical, sexual, or emotional, by their current or most recent husband or partner.

The survey also found that despite the GBV helpline initiated by Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare to facilitate reporting of GBV cases in an effort to address perpetrators, the report shows that 65% of women who experienced violence never sought help or told anyone. 

For FGM, it said, there is a slight drop from 75% to 73%, adding that this fall does not induce celebration because the percentage is still staggeringly high, given the level of policy attention as well as programmes implemented towards curbing the manace.

-0- PANA MSS/MA 13July2021