16 Days Of Activism Against GBV: SOGOC Re-Echoes Calls To Invest In Preventing Violence Against Women, Girls

Nov 27, 2023
SOGOC Officials and media partners raising their voices against GBV

SOGOC Officials and media partners raising their voices against GBV
By Nformi Sonde Kinsai
The National President of the Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Cameroon, SOGOC has joined the international community in clamouring for greater investment that could prevent violence against women and girls.
The call was made in Yaounde on November 23, 2023 on behalf of the National President of SOGOC, Prof. Emile Mboudou by Prof. Felix Essiben while officially launching 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence, GBV.
The theme of this year’s event that runs from November 25 to December 10 is: “Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls.” The launching ceremony that was preceded by an awareness walk on the streets of Yaounde saw the effective participation of SOGOC members, the press as well as members of the Advocacy for Comprehensive Abortion Care, ACAC project.
Prof. Essiben, who is also the President of SOGOC for the Centre Region said “the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the ensuing 16 Days of Activism Against GBV are commemorated every year around the world to raise awareness and trigger action on this pervasive human rights violation.”
He stated that violence against women and girls takes many forms and is widespread throughout the globe. “It takes the form of rape, domestic violence, and sexual harassment at work or in schools, female genital mutilation and sexual violence especially during armed conflicts.
“Violence against women and girls remains one of the most prevalent and pervasive human rights violations in the world. Despite many countries passing laws to combat violence against women, weak enforcement and discriminatory social norms remain significant problems,” Prof. Essiben pointed out.
He revealed that globally, an estimated 736 million women – almost one in every three; have been subjected to physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both, at least once in their life.
“Violence against women has been heightened across different settings as well, including the workspace and online spaces. A global study by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 38 percent of women have had personal experiences of online violence, and 85 percent of women who spend time online have witnessed digital violence against other women.
“Violence negatively affects women’s physical and mental health and well-being at all stages of their life and impacts their professional development and economic empowerment. It also has broader social and economic consequences for families, communities, and societies; and impedes the achievement of sustainable development.” He said.
Reiterating that the right of women and girls to live free of violence is inalienable and fundamental, Essiben added that it is enshrined in international human rights and humanitarian law. “Although equality between women and men is guaranteed in Cameroon’s Constitution, all too often women are denied justice and protection from violence. This failure does not stem from a lack of knowledge but rather a lack of investment and political will to meet women’s needs and protect their fundamental rights. It is time to take responsibility and that time is now,” Essiben declared.
According to him, in Cameroon, the prevalence of GBV is intricately linked with the sexual and reproductive health and right of the Cameroonian woman. He said some of the aftermath consequences of GBV notably domestic violence, rape, genital mutilation on the reproductive health of the woman are usually not carefully considered.
Taking pregnancy resulting from rape as an example, Prof. Essiben said it is one of the narrow areas in which the penal code allows for safe abortion. “In a nutshell, abortion authorisation in Cameroon is interwoven with GBV thus we can’t treat each of the above subjects in absolute exclusivity. Today, SOGOC joins the world to shine a light on ending GBV and its adverse effect on the Cameroonian woman’s health,” he stated.
Maintaining that a number of activities are lined up to commemorate the 16 days of activism against GBV, the Centre Regional President of SOGOC appealed: “to this effect, we call on all our partners and non-partners working on GBV to actively engage with these activities and be intentional about including safe abortion related services for rape survivors.”
The event marked by a question and answer session also saw the Assistant Secretary General of SOGOC, Dr. Anny Ngassam calling on media practitioners to effectively contribute their quota in combating GBV.