By Andrew Nsoseka
Women civil society leaders and activists were recently trained in a trainers’ workshop in Buea, to lead a campaign aimed at eradicating violence against women and the girl child in communities.
In the workshop organised by the International Federation of Women Lawyers Cameroon, FIDA, alongside Voices For Women and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation, LUKMEF Cameroon, the workshop brought together a multitude of women from various associations, who shared notes, experiences and brainstormed on the best practices to adopt, in order to eradicate violence against women and the girl child.
In a presentation on the best ways to eradicate violence against women, the President of FIDA Cameroon, Mafor Gladys Frida, a lawyer by profession, said there is need for strategic lobbying of lawmakers and traditional authorities, so that some adjustments could be made on laws and traditional practices.
She also said that they will be pushing on for the making of good laws, as well as the implementation of already existing laws that have not been used over the years, to tackle the prevalence of violence against women and the girl child. On traditional rulers, Mafor Gladys notes that they are the custodians of tradition and, as such, should be targeted and made to see the need and advantages of curbing certain practices that put women and girls in a disadvantaged position, making them less productive.
Some of the targeted areas and persons, to convince in the fight for gender equality and an end to violence against women and girls, are lawmakers, traditional rulers, church communities, village meetings, cultural associations and even house-to-house campaigns in neighbourhoods.
In a press briefing, Mafor said” “We have taught them that you can actually use advocacy to end violence against women and girls; we told them that it is very important to report cases of violence against women and girls. These cases of abuse against women and girls keep on occurring, despite the campaigns, because we stay quiet and the cases go unreported. More often than not, it is like a secret in the dark places of our homes and people don’t even know what the victims are going through.”
She added that their networks report such cases and, after they are investigated, the perpetrators are prosecuted and punished, so that it acts as a deterrent, to help curb acts of violence against women and girls.
She frowned at the attitude of some law enforcement officers who wave aside complaints of abuses on women and girls in society. She remarked that law enforcement bodies also need to be sensitised, so that they know that it is not lawful or normal for a man to assault his wife or daughter for whatever reason.