Friday, September 22

Gender Minister Vows Gov’t Will Not Relent on Efforts to Eradicate GBV, Rape

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By: Binta Jaiteh

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Fatou Kinteh, has vowed that the Gambia government will not relent in its effort to eradicate Gender-based Violence (GBV) and rape.She said the government will show no sign of a let-up in its fight until such time that the vices are eliminated in the country.

Minister Fatou Kinteh made these undertakings on Tuesday as she briefed reporters on the state of GBV in The Gambia.She pointed out that GBV is a socially challenging problem with infrastructural and systems deficits to address it.The minister explained that there exist limited GBV-specific services in most regions of the country, indicating that most survivors have challenges in accessing the limited support around them.“In the same vein, the limited service providers are not easily identified and ralliedto offer these services. The service providers have very few avenues to reach survivors, and/or interact with other GBV programmes,” Mrs. Kinteh lamented.She further lamented that GBV programs often function in silos with the programmes losing the harnessing power to deliver where needed.“Beyond service accessibility, it is important that GBV processes remain confidential, considering its social ramifications, especially in closed or semi-closed societies,” she advised.The gender minister explained that her Ministry has a special unit that is responsible for only issues, relating to sex and ensuring that anyone found wanting is dealt with according to the law.She emphasized the importance of collaboration in the fight against GBV.“Together, we will continue to come up with innovative ideas for the expansion of the services throughout The Gambia,” Minister Kinteh stated.The minister described as a step in the right direction the successful prosecution of three women for their involvement in female circumcision.“A few days ago, three women were prosecuted for cutting our girls, which I think is a step in the right direction. For a long time, we have been waiting to hear such cases as Gambia has been reporting on GBV and FGM,” she underlined.The UNFPA Country Representative, Ndey Rose Sarr, disclosed that since the start of the GMIS center in January 2023, 310 GBV cases have been recorded; 35% of which were minors.“99.6% of these survivors who reported to a one-stop centre received psycho-social support and counseling but unfortunately 98% are female. Rape is another unfortunate GBV issue in The

Gambia and it is affecting all but mostly children between the age of 14 followed by adolescents,” she explained.“32.7% of the GBV cases reported in the GMIS are also reported to the police while 32% of the GBV survivors reported were willing to pursue legal action while 55% did not want to do so. However, most of the time GBV survivors don’t want to come to the centre to be placed there temporarily. Only 2.2% of the survivors accepted to be placed in the centre. Therefore, GMIS is pivotal in the development of the detective GBV program in The Gambia,” she stated.