#Article (Archive)

October is domestic violence awareness against women

Nov 2, 2010, 1:20 PM

How is this an issue in The Gambia

We invited Dr Azadeh, Senior Lecturer at the University of The Gambia and Senior Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology to focus on the

"Violence against women in The Gambia."

Dr Azadeh how will you define violence against women and it's menace to the Gambian society?

May I start my explanation about this tremendously important topic by giving you the following recent facts out of the United Nation studies worldwide:

           1 in 3 women will raped, assaulted, or physically or sexually abused in their life time.

           Of all abuses of rights affecting women around the world, violence against the women is one of the most widespread against their fundamental human right.

           Violence against women is a key barrier to women realising their right

           Many women and girls living in poverty face violence every day within the home, the communities, at school and the work place.

           For the women it can be almost impossible to defend themselves against violence because their voices are unheard and they have very little support available to them.

           Violence robs women of choices and control over their lives and

           It impacts on every aspect of their lives, causing injuries and death, but also preventing girls from going to school, women from earring money.

           It stops women from participating in their communities and wider society and focus them to live in fear.

Violence against women is also includes

           Domestic violence

           Rape and sexual violence

           Female Genital Mutilation

           Forced marriages

           Crime in the name of honour

           Sexual harassment

           Trafficking, and prostitution

           Sexual exploitation

Significant numbers of women experiences more than one type of violence. Recurring themes in women's descriptions of male violence include the use out of the control, humiliation and degradation, the abdication of responsibilities by the male abuser, and the attribution of blame to the women. Other commonalities between all forms of violence against women include the high levels of under-reporting and extremely low conviction rates: long term social, psychological and economical consequences and historic failure by the states to prevent violence against women.

May I also explain it further with a few more words about the history of violence against women worldwide.

Some historian believe that the history of violence against women is tied to the history of women being viewed as on the property and a gender role assigned to be subservient to men.

The UN Declaration Elimination of violence against women (1993) states that "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relation between men and women", which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women. And that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.

Also define violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts, whether occurring in pubic or in private life.

There are many forms of violence against women, including

           sexual, physical and emotional abuse by an intimate partner,

           physical or sexual abuse by family members or others,

           Sexual harassment and abuse by authority figures (such as teachers, police officers or employers):

           trafficking for forced labour or sex: and such

           Traditional practices as forced or child marriages,

           Dowry-related violence or even honour killing, when women are murdered in the name of family honour.

           Systematic sexual abuse in conflict situations is another form of violence against women.

In a 10 years studies on women health and domestic violence conducted by WHO.

           Between 15% and 71% of women reported physical or sexual violence by a husband or partner.

           Many women said that their first sexual experience was not consensual. (24% in rural Peru, 28% in Tanzania, 30% in rural Bangladesh, and 40% in South Africa)

           Between 4% and 12% of women reported being physically abused even during pregnancy.

           Worldwide, up to one in five women and one in 10 men report experiencing sexual abuse as children subjected to sexual abuse are much more likely to encounter other forms of abuse later in life.

Dr Azadeh what are the health effects of violence against women?

Health consequences can result directly from violence or long-term effects of violence

           Injuries: physical and sexual abuse is closely associated with injuries

           Sexual and reproductive health: violence against women is associated with sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, unintended pregnancies, gynaecological health problems, including abortion and death of their unborn babies.

           Mental health: violence and abuse increase risk of depression, post traumatic stress disorder, personality disorder, eating disorder and emotional distress.

           Physical health: Abuse can result in many health problems, including long-term headaches, bowel disorder, limited mobility and in some cases suicide

           Female Genital Mutilation is also a form of absolute abuse of the female fundamental human right with long-term of physical, mental, emotional and social effect, starting in childhood and the rest of their life.

Social and economic cost

The social and economic costs of violence against women are enormous and ripple effects throughout their life. They may suffer isolation, inability to work, loss of wages, lack of participation in regular activities and less care for their family in particular their children.

What to do if someone has been violated?

           Join us "the medical professionals" in pledging to raise awareness, Use News papers, Radios, TV about this tragic crime, seek help and advice of

           Government official, Medical Professional and the justice to hold offenders accountable

           Collaborating with international agencies and organisations to deter violence against women.

           Here in the Gambia report to the (FAWEGAM) "Forum for Africa women education Gambia"

           Also information from Dr Azadeh on 7774469/3774469.

           E-mail: mediainquiries@who.int

Dr Azadeh will continue writing about the "Violence against children and also against Men" in our next week issue.