ending violence against women
“Ending violence against women” the theme for the international women’s day
By Sarjo Camara Singateh
DR. Isatou Touray the executive Director of Gamcotrap, a women right organisation reflects on the international women’s day.
In an interview with the executive director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr. Isatou Touray at her office on the kanifing institutional area. Dr. Touray spoke on the issues that affect women, and the importance of the international women’s day.
Dr. Isatou Touray said when you talk about violence against women the most of the perpetuators are men, if you look at what am saying. I am not exonerating women form perpetuating violence against women. But the majorities of issues we talk about are based on power relations, domestic violence, wife battering, and denial of fish money; bring other women’s together in the name of polygamy.
“If you look at the genesis of what happen to women is all influence by male controlling over women’s sexuality and as the need you look at the issue of family planning most women are been abused by their partners, husbands/ spouses when they say I am going to be involved they question them why do you have to do it without my permission. Sometimes even with the permission of their husbands they denied them of all these rights from realizing their own bodily rights and integrity”.
She said in a way involving them in the process of empowerment is very important why are men beating their wife’s and why do they have to justify them as properties, there is a whole game of issues because they are the perpetuators. “I think we need to discuss the whole issues. Because in a patriarchal society where a man is married to a woman or when a woman is seen as a sex object the issue of violence is become justified in within a cultural ream”.
Dr. Isatou Touray noted that it is important that men understand that why they should not be violent against their spouses or towards women and they should respect the bodily dignity and integrity of women and the way they symbolizes women’s body as sex objects in itself is another thing they should change.
“They should see them as equal partners human beings, who are different in by virtue of the fact that they possesses certain characteristics that men do not have that should not be a safe haven for men to abuse”.
She said men are very important and critical to this for example if you talk about men sometimes give their daughters to marriage with the involvement of the mother or withdraw them from school. They are not listening to them which should have change.” I think making them be aware of these issues will empower them and they will see the other side of the issues.”
Dr. Isatou Touray noted that she has a very positive feeling and perception of Gambian men in the communities particularly in the rural areas and generally for that matter the issue is the way we have been socialized were male controlled over female body is justified and sometimes wrongly thoroughly discusses where some people will tell you this what a woman is expected to do.
‘For me is the reverse if you look at the Quran and the sharia the authentic hadith, it is all about ignorance and the way we Have been socialized male feel that is their right to do certain things” she noted.
Dr. Isatou Touray recalls that over the years that I have been working in the communities and with men I have realize that majority of them when they get the right information actually they apologized in doing to their people they realize that what they were doing to their wives, children and people them, they discover themselves that what they were doing is wrong and that is a big shift, that means that knowledge is very important, it is also important that we understand the religion in which we are it is a religion of peace and not a religion of violence, is the religion that respect the women’s right and fundamental principles that govern the personal status of a woman and therefore when they get to know and understand this things I have seen a complete shift.
“My perceptive is positive in the sense that ignorance is what perpetuates sometimes these practices and the way we were brought up, and by engaging the constructively by creating awareness and sensitizing them the women also by asserting their rights I have seen has be positive changes” she submitted.
she stated that if go the rural communities and we were talking about female genital mutilation and why female genital mutilation is been discuss, of course we already know that the practice is been encouraged by some unprogressive religious scholars who I feel is out of ignorance that they are promoting female genital mutilation
“any landed scholar who knows the Quran and have read, understand and make done proper research will never associate this practice with Islam”.
Dr. Touray said when we get to the field that is the knowledge they have gotten from this people and when go in and engage in to make real over the issue some come up to accept and recognized and start apologizing and say ok we are going to take responsibility and ensure that our children are protected. We are going to also convince other people.
“For me the issue of ignorance and misconception is an issue that’s why GAMCOTRAP is engaged in intensive social mobilization and advocacy”.
The day is very important it has to do with trying to highlight some of the difficulty and challenges women face in realizing their rights and to do that you designate a day to call the attention of the whole world to engage and discuss this issues and debate them.
she said the international women’s day is a high level policy advocacy on promoting women’s rights in the context of our various countries in terms of policy, advocacy and resources that have come, I think is a very important day it weaves all this information into one body that call the attention of the world, that something has to be done so that women’s situation and condition to be improved.
“We know that lot of women suffers from rape during war time, and this is something that is not unacceptable by any stands of human rights. it is also not to be condone, so I think raising their voices and also taking their concerns into consideration is very important, and I hope that the special rapporteur on rape and other forms of impunity will highlight the issue of women who were raped and their voices must be captured. It something that must not be condones”,
She calls for zero tolerance on rape in its entire ramification. “I think we need to think about their situation serious and I think March 8 is a platform in which people come out to share their experiences, the best practices in order for our states to listen to take positive responses in addressing them”.