Clergy kick off campaign to fight GBV, child abuse in Africa

Gender-Based Violence

Children attending the launch of 16 days of Gender-Based Violence activism at Hyrax Hills Museum on November 25, 2020.   

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The National Crime Research Centre  has established that cases of gender-based increased by 92.2 per cent between January and June this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen an acute increase of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and child abuse due to increased exposure to perpetrators.

The National Crime Research Centre (NCRC) has established that cases of gender-based increased by 92.2 per cent between January and June this year.

NCRC also established that 71 per cent of the 2,416 cases of GBV recorded during the period were perpetuated on women and girls. That is equivalent to 10 females violated each day during the six-month period.

These statistics are replicated in other African countries, with women and girls bearing the greatest brunt of domestic and sexual violence.

The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in partnership with seven international faith-based organisations recently held a conference to deliberate on how the church and faith-based organisations can enhance action against gender inequality, SGBV and child abuse during and beyond Covid-19 pandemic.

The conference themed “Impact of Covid-19 on Gender Justice and Child Protection: Action by Faith Actors during and beyond the Pandemic” discussed among other things the conflicting roles and barriers in ensuring gender justice and child protection against abuse and the way forward for the faith actors in reinforcing gender justice and child protection in the covid-19 and similar crises.

AACC General Secretary Dr Fidon Mwombeki said the rise of GBV threatens to reverse gains made over the years.

He particularly observed there has been an alarming rise in domestic and sexual violence as evidenced by the unprecedented number of teen pregnancies, especially in Kenya.

“As faith leaders, we must amplify our voices and join the rest of the world in reaffirming our commitment to lend our voices to support advocacy and promote actions that protect women and girls. We have an onerous responsibility and let us remember that we all share a common goal as we observe these 16 days of activism,” said Dr Mwombeki.

Gender injustice

Rev Dr Samuel Aderemi Olaleye from Nigeria noted the pandemic has not reduced the gender injustice and children’s violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect, but rather they have increased because financial support to fight these courses have been dwindling since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Dr Olaleye said the impacts of gender injustice are experienced most severely by women and girls as they face abuse, discrimination at home and in the work place.

“Millions of girls and women are affected by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early and forced marriage and violence based on gender,” he said.

Dr Olaleye, who delivered the keynote address on behalf of Rev. Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, President of Christian Association of Nigeria, however, noted that gender inequality is not limited to discrimination against women, it can also place unnecessary demand on men and boys.

The participants pointed out to specific roles for faith leaders and actors in ending SGBV and child abuse. This, they noted, would help faith leaders and actors become key players in changing negative and retrogressive cultures perpetrating gender inequalities and cycles of violence against women and girls.