FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

18 January 2013

Gambia: One Billion Rise Against Violence Against Women- V - Day to Be Celebrated in the Gambia

The V-Day is to be celebrated throughout The Gambia on the 14th of Febraury 2013 by different stakeholders which is expected to trigger One billion rise relating to violence against women and girls.

In every struggle there must be a champion, 'movers and shakers' and EVE ENDSLER epitomizes this in her campaigns to reach out to the world to fight against VAW (Violence Against Women) in all its forms and ramifications. She devoted her time, life and energy to call the world's through her campaigns for promoting the rights and welfare of women and vulnerable groups.

This campaign is calling on the entire world to rise against 'violence against women' on the 14th of February, 2013.

Dr. IsatouTouray, in an interview with this reporter noted that in every society, country or contest people have different issues that they struggle with; that they engage in especially when it comes to human rights issues, women's rights, rights of the vulnerable groups and as a result they engage in awareness creation to groups and also put in place mechanisms to protecting them from violence.

She said the one billion rise is the global energy that is going to rise by singing, dancing with the commitment to protect women from violence. She said they may think they are alone but this one billion rising is going to show them that they are not alone. She added that this is going to show them that the whole world is addressing the same phenomenon.

"When we had our meeting in Kenya ,Africa rising, we met up with over 80 participants who have different issues on violence against women like rape, FGM, gender based violence, the war in Congo, early marriage, and all forms of violence against women. So meeting there to share and learn from each other was one of the biggest successes of this rising because that was the first time the African continent was invited by V-Day to organize and discuss issues and matters affecting Africa, "Explained Dr. Isatou Touray.

She noted that it was indeed very powerful; that the one billion rising is to discuss the struggles and some of the issues affecting women. She opined that the V-day could mean valentine, violence and said a lot of Gambians have signed to the website.

Dr. Touray said because of the power of media, many things would happen through different mediums; that we are looking forward to rise with other organizations but said they cannot do it alone.

"What started as a personal quest has become a worldwide concern waving a web-like movement that involves everyone that has a similar passion to address violence against women and children. Sexual violence such as FGM and RAPE are shrouded in culture of silence and no one ever speaks about the vagina, and yet the vagina is the locus of sexual violence. V- Day has broken the taboo and everyone is taking a look at the female body and how our bodies has been violated",. Explained Dr. Touray.

Dr. Touray said V-day started 14 years ago, that it had the outrageous idea that violence against women would end. Since then, hundreds of thousands of v-day activists in audiences and onstage in over 140 countries have come together to demand an end to violence against women and girls.

"We have all struggled with every bit of our beings to end this violence, but still today, the United Nations states that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That is more than one billion women living on the planet today. V-Day refuses to stand by as more than a billion women experience violence", vowed Dr. Touray.

The executive director of GAMCOTRAP said that this effort was made explicit when v-day invited African activists from Africa to Africa rising v-day Africa summit held in Kenya, Niarobi, at the Safari Park Hotel for four days to reflect on violence against women on the continent. She said this was the first of its type undertaken by v-day in Africa to globally look at the continent and the ravages of VAW in all its ramifications. The outcome of this reflection and narratives resulted to a declaration, she said.

Dr. Isatou Touray stated that to that effect Africa Summit will be organizing a billion rising initiative to raise awareness on VAW all over the continent and beyond. She said the goal is building solidarity to end violence against women, the objectives are to engage activists. Institutions and partners in walk outs, dance to demand an end to violence; promote collective strength and solidarity to end violence in the world; promote policy changes and the enforcement of legislation to protect women from violence and advocate for the enactment of a specific law to stop female genital mutilation in the Gambia.

Dr. Touray said different groups in communities and institutions will be engaged, mobilized to be part of the billion rising campaign on violence against women. These are existing groups in rural and urban areas.

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