GAMBIA REGISTERS 117 RAPE CASES IN 2023
The Gambia has recorded a staggering 117 rape cases between January and July this year, according to a situation report issued by Gender Management Information System.
The report, issued yesterday at a press conference at the Bakoteh Orange Center, also revealed the country registered 310 survivors of Gender-Based Violence across the 8 operational One-Stop Centres in Kanifing, Banjul, Bakoteh, Bundung, Brikama, Basse, Bansang, and Bwiam.
The cases include 49 physical and 47 sexual assaults, 37 Intimate Partner violence, 6 FGM, 5 psychological, 5 defilement, 4 denial of resources, 3 emotional, 2 harassment, and 2 child marriages.
According to the report, the physical assault and IPV cases are mostly common among people aged 18 years and above, while survivors range from the ages of 10-14 and those aged 15-17 are mostly rape, sexual assault and defilement survivors.
Most FGM survivors, the report said, are between 5-9 years. It added that 100 percent survivors who reached out to the One-Stop Centres received support ranging from health care service to psychosocial support and that all survivors who wanted their cases to go further were all linked to the police and received appropriate legal support.
However, the report said most survivors did not pursue police or legal support. It indicated that of the cases reported for the period, 50% of perpetrators are between the ages of 20-35, while the average age of rape perpetrators is 25.
It is also reported that out of the 32 percent of the cases reported to police, over 70 percent preferred not to go to police or court.
According to the report, deeper analysis indicated that physical assault cases were mainly reported in Bansang One-Stop Centre while rape cases are mostly reported in Brikama One-Stop Center.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Fatou Kinteh, said proper recording of GBV cases is critical for the government’s response and programming. She said the government is working on establishing a special court on gender-based violence and a forensic lab. Minister Kinteh said the government has a number of programs geared towards addressing issues of GBV. She commended the level of awareness that has been created to encourage reporting cases of GBV but raised concern over victims’ families withdrawing cases which is hindering prosecutions.
“The withdrawing of cases has been a big concern but I want to assure you that henceforth we will not allow the withdrawal of cases especially rape cases,” she said.
The UNFPA country representative, Ndeye Rose Sarr, said the number of cases recorded is appalling and called for more advocacy and action from all stakeholders to address the root causes of GBV. She urged victims to take advantage of the 199-emergency number to report all forms of violation for assistance.
A representative from the civil society, Fallu Sowe, commended the social and case workers in different GMIS centres across the country for their sleepless nights.
“We also have volunteers in communities who ensure that cases are reported and properly recorded at the regional level,” he said.
The GMIS centre was made operational in January 2023 to facilitate the delivery of quality services in line with global standards and GBV guiding principles and strengthen referrals in a timely and most appropriate manner. It is supported by the UN Systems in partnership with the Gambia Government.
Source: The Standard