D’ GIRLS INITIATIVE TACKLING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

Family Photo, Special edition of D' GIRLS Initiative on Rape and Incest

Family Photo, Special edition of D’ GIRLS Initiative on Rape and Incest

So far we have had 5 insightful sessions covering various topics such as self discovery, role modeling, making future plans, sexual reproduction and gender based violence. These sessions have been breath taking and inspiring. Not what we expected but so grateful for the massive response from the young girls.

Our society drives us to believe in associating only in things where in we can at that same point get immediate or physical reward.  This attitude of always longing for a motivation to participate or acquire skills is contributing enormously to the increase in ignorance which of cause is seen to be more expensive than being informed.   The response of these young girls goes to tell that they are fighting this plague of perdiem/motivation to participate. Their hunger to be better persons, meet their full potential and ride on that horse of success and self accomplishment is a sign that they so badly need an avenue or forum to find self in order to face the challenges of this 21st century.

Girls listen to lectures on Gender Based Violence

Girls listen to lectures on Gender Based Violence

On the 2nd of March we held a special session bringing together 89 young girls around Buea the town of legendary hospitality situated at the foot of Mount Cameroon.  This session was organized to mark the celebration of this year’s (2013) international day of the woman under the theme: a promise is a promise: time to end violence against women and girls. The training was organized to educate young girls on Gender based Violence with special focus on Rape and incest.  Activities staged from a presentation on gender based violence, the state of rape and incest in Cameroon, to video projection (testimonies) and group discussions. Our commitment to end gender violence against young girls goes in line with the 11ath principle of the Earth Charter to secure the human rights of women and girls and end all violence against them.

video projection

video projection

In 2011 during a Campaign on Rape and incest carried out by GIZ, Nelie a victim of incest decides to share her story.   Nelie is a 21year old victim of rape and incest in Nkongsamba a little town in the western region of Cameroon. She has had a traumatic childhood life, tainted with frustration, humiliation, physical injury and STI’s as a result of rape and harassment from men.  At the age of 11, Nelie who had already become a sex object to her Dad was rape by a neighbor, and in her quest for consolation sort for protection from her Dad who turned to be her worst night mere.  Her father’s lost for sexual pleasure even pushed him to use sleeping pills and life treats to sexually harasse Nelie in uncompleted buildings, farms and even in the bath room. Nelie at the age of 16 became pregnant and was abandoned to her faith.  Nelie’s desire to gain sanity, self confidence and restore her dignity pushed her to share her story.  In her words she says “By denouncing the perpetrator you unburden yourself and imprison the perpetrator”

group presentations

group presentations

Nelie’s story was particularly touching as young girls with whom we shared this video did not reserve their emotion.  The outcome of their group discussions showed how personally they related to this story, sharing their thoughts and some personal experiences.

We also used this opportunity to carry out a survey and made a shucking discovery. 60% of the girls present who actually answered the survey reported of haven been harassed in one way of the other amongst which 10% were sexually assaulted by a neighbor, friend, stranger and brothers.

Yes I have been raped in my friend’s house not even my boyfriend. He tried to have sex with me and had his way with me, a boy whom I took like a very good friend”. Says one victim

“Yes I have been sexually assaulted. It happened around 2012. When my brothers always visit my room trying to undress me, touch my breast but I did not give them the chance to do so”. Said another victim

“Yes I have been sexually harassed on my way back from school where a guy I did not know walked up to me with treats and almost raped me”

These are just some few cases of those girls who reported to have been sexually harassed.   All of these cases reported to have kept to themselves. This exercise has permitted us to come in touch first hand with the realities of rape and incest in our communities.

Feedback from the girls at the end of the training

 

Listening to group presentations

Listening to group presentations

A cross session of the girls are now willing to denounce perpetrators while some still have reservations. This is understandable because it takes a lot to take that first step. They think this training has served as an eye opener to them as they have resort to break the silence and take action. They believe gender based violence is a subject which many people have to be sensitized on so that many should not act in ignorance.

Recommending solutions to curb down this violation of human rights,

  • Rather than crying and keeping to yourself it is better to share and seek advice.
  • By denouncing rapist prevent them from continually taking advantage of us
  • Talking to men can make a difference because all men are not the same and some can actually change their behavior
Girls taking down note

Girls taking down note

This session motivates us more to keep on going as it has given more meaning to our commitment and proves without doubt that there is a great need for this initiative.

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