Raising Awareness against Gender-Based Violence
Petra is a young woman change maker seeking solutions for raising awareness against gender-based violence in rural Cameroon. She has launched a new competition for preventing violence against women. Under this competition, Women's Associations, education groups or grassroots-based organizations implementing most innovative solution around the world for raising awareness and taking action against gender-based violence will be contacted for partnership exchange and grant support (for the realization of her project) and/or should be awarded an opportunity to participate in an international capacity building event.
The project aim focuses on:
“Preventing Violence against Women” including systemic change solutions that help to prevent sexual, physical, psychological, and emotional abuse of women, and promote the creation of awareness in order to prevent gender-based violence.
This is because studies have shown that in remote areas boys are valued more than girls. Older men prize young wives, father’s covert dowries and mothers are powerless to intervene. Many rural girls quest leap straight from childhood to marriage at a word from their fathers. Sometimes that word comes years before they reach puberty. The consequences of abused children are staggering adolescence and schooling cut short; early pregnancies and hazardous births; adulthood other condemned to subservience. The risk has grown to include HIV at an age when girls do not grasp the risks of AIDS.
Increasingly educators, health officials and even legislators discourage or even forbid these marriages. Child abuse remains entrenched in rural pockets throughout Cameroon, from Nkambe, Bali to Bafut Research had shown that the average age of marriage in these regions remains among the world’s lowest, and the percentage of adolescent mothers the world’s highest.
Many rural African communities, stopped in centuries of belief that girls occupy society’s lower rings are incurred to disapproval by the outside world. Petra Lum as Health Coordinator for the project of Adele Reproductive Health Foundation says ‘over 60 % of girls who are bent on getting employment are sexually abused by their bosses’... ‘This attitude is rampant’... ‘Our young girls are passing through hell’…They need help! In my community, girls as early as 13 are being traded off for the family to gain. After that, the woman becomes owned and powerless in their husbands’ villages.
Girls usually get married at or before puberty to which ever their parents (father) choose, sometimes to husbands as much as half a century older.
The girls later choose lifelong misery over divorce because custom decrees that children in patriarchal tribes belong to the father.