By Binta A Bah
One Billion Rising For Justice, an event being held around world turned out a moment filled with emotions and joy under the unnoticed hot and typical African burning sun in The Gambia, demanding justice in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation and domestic violence.
Done in style, The Gambia commemorated the event with a procession and symposium at TANGO offices where hundreds of people: women, men, youth groups, institutions and school children rose up to dance, singing very emotional songs.
One Billion Rising for Justice is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely outside places where they are entitled to justice. Places like courthouses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places.
In The Gambia, GAMCOTRAP, a woman’s right NGO, who have over the years been very active and effective in the promotion of women and children’s rights led the activity. The organisation is well known for its stance against harmful cultural practices particularly those that relates to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and other discriminatory early practices.
They joined the global energy to strike, dance and rise against Violence against women calling for an end to FGM, marriage and other gender discriminatory practices affecting women and men.
“Women in their fields, in the market place, in the sea, in the gardens in their various works of life, are rising for their voices to be heard,” said Mary Small, Senior Programme Coordinator Gamcotrap.
More than a billion men and women are rising in different countries with hope of uniting all voices in the fight to stop violence against women.
“Realizing that it will take many years to overturn these challenges, it is justified for The Gambia to rise for justice, and for survivors to dance for justice, and sing for justice,” Mary Small said. “It is not just the general public that blames these victims but this hostility finds its way into the criminal justice system, in the attitudes of some police, prosecutors and juries.”
V-Day promotes creative events to increase awareness. It hopes to generate broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sex slavery.
According to the organisers of One Billion Rising, said one in three women on the planet are raped or beaten during their life so one billion mothers, daughters, sisters, colleagues and friends are amongst the victims. And this according to Fatou Kinteh of UNFPA is a major obstacle to women’s advancement, in which in itself a human rights abuse.
“A battered woman who has suffered bodily harm cannot participate in various development activities. A young girl who is forced to marry an older man of different generation will be faced with continuous adjustments due to the mismatch which may impede her opportunities for development,” she said.
For the executive Director of TANGO, an association of non-governmental organization, the rising is not celebrating but demanding for basic rights. ‘We have quite number of challenges, and it is you and me who have to fight for the injustice and bad governance,” Yarbo said.
Amie Bojang Sissoho and Madi Jobarteh who chaired the occasion made several presentation on the significance of the V-Day and why women should say no to injustice.
“This is part of the worldwide movement led by Eve Ensler to say No to Violence against Women and to bring attention to the one billion women who suffer different forms of violence.” Amie said.
The event was not only entertaining but an educative one. The poems, dramas, monologue on FGM and songs sang at the occasion have answers for V-Day, global activist movement founded by Eve Ensler, a journalist and writer for 15 years.
14 February globally, is valentine day, a day when lovers renew their love, commitment. The women and men strike, dance and RISE to support bring an end to violence against women once and for all.