Skill­share tack­les vi­o­lence against Ba­sotho Fe­males

Sunday Express - - News -

SKILL­SHARE Le­sotho has called on the govern­ment to ur­gently en­act the Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence bill and Gen­der pol­icy for the swift im­ple­men­ta­tion of pro­grammes that would help to tackle vi­o­lence in the homes and deal with gen­der based in­equal­ity.

This emerged dur­ing last week’s event that marked the launch of the 16 days of Ac­tivism Against Gen­der -Based Vi­o­lence. The global an­nual cam­paign starts on 25 Novem­ber to 10 De­cem­ber, dur­ing when the world in­ten­si­fies aware­ness rais­ing on the need to elim­i­nate all forms of gen­der based vi­o­lence, par­tic­u­larly against women.

This global cam­paign orig­i­nated from the Women’s Global Leader- ship In­sti­tute co­or­di­nated by the cen­tre for Women’s Global Lead­er­ship in 1991.

The cam­paign has over the years fo­cused on gen­der-based vi­o­lence, iden­ti­fied as one of the most se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions across the globe.

Gen­der spe­cial­ists the world over have said gen­der-based vi­o­lence can add se­ri­ous dev­as­tat­ing longterm con­se­quences for vic­tims, and as a re­sult, this can dam­age their phys­i­cal and men­tal health sta­bil­ity.

In an in­ter­view with the Sun­day Ex­press re­cently, the Skills Share Mon­i­tor­ing and Eval­u­a­tion Man­ager, Peter Buyondo, said gen­der­based vi­o­lence comes in var­i­ous forms in the case of Le­sotho.

“We have iden­ti­fied sev­eral prob- lem ar­eas, some of them struc­tural and in need of so­lu­tions that in­clude en­act­ing laws that can strengthen the pro­tec­tion of women and girls in par­tic­u­lar,” Mr Buyondo said.

He cited early mar­riages as a prob­lem area that has caused many girls not to fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pos­ing them to chal­lenges such as fail­ure to ac­cess qual­ity health and in­abil­ity to make de­ci­sions due to unem­ploy­ment. High rates of HIV and AIDS among women, he said, was a cause for con­cern.

“The HIV preva­lence among girls aged 15-19 years is 21.5 per­cent as com­pared to the 7.5 per­cent among boys of the same age and this shows the need for all ac­tors to strengthen ef­forts aimed at pro­tect­ing young women and en­sur­ing ac­cess to treat­ment for the 21.5 per­cent liv­ing pos­i­tively,” Mr Buyondo said.

He fur­ther ex­plained that vi­o­lence against women was a com­mon, com­plex and con­se­quen­tial public health epi­demic with sta­tis­tics show­ing that one in three women in ev­ery cul­ture and so­cial group has been beaten, co­erced into sex, or abused in her life­time.

This, Mr Buyondo said calls for multi-faceted ap­proaches, wide and ef­fec­tive enough to reach women and men who are sur­vivors of gen­der-based vi­o­lence and en­sure that no­body is left be­hind.

Also com­ment­ing on gen­der­based vi­o­lence, Skills Share So­cial In­clu­sion and Gen­der Ad­vi­sor, Mahlao Di­aho, said Ba­sotho should avoid nor­mal­iz­ing gen­der-based vi­o­lence, high­light­ing so­cial-ills in­clud­ing chil­dren wit­ness­ing their par­ents fight­ing.

“Con­sid­er­ing how gen­der-based vi­o­lence neg­a­tively im­pacts so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment, we strongly feel that it is about time that Le­sotho has a Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Act to sup­port na­tional pro­grammes aim­ing to en­sure gen­der eq­uity. We would like to see ac­tors in­clud­ing all govern­ment min­istries, the civil so­ci­ety and the pri­vate sec­tor strengthen a well-co­or­di­nated col­lab­o­ra­tion to end gen­der-based vi­o­lence,” Ms Di­aho said.

She fur­ther ex­plained the need for ad­e­quate re­sources tar­get­ing pro­grammes work­ing to pre­vent gen­der-based vi­o­lence and the es­tab­lish­ment of more fa­cil­i­ties where peo­ple re­cov­er­ing from men­tal and emo­tional trauma can be ac­com­mo­dated while re­ceiv­ing sup­port.

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