The 9th session of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) hearings which begins from 14th to 31st October 2019 will address Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). SGBV is a key part of the TRRC’s mandate, therefore, this session will give a platform to victims and survivors to narrate their ordeal through this severe human rights violation. It will also promote and take measures to facilitate and support their healing process.
SGBV is any act perpetrated against a person’s will as a result of gender norms, roles and unequal power relationships within their social setting. Such unequal power relationships are exploited or abused through violence or coercion against more vulnerable persons. SGBV can occur in physical, sexual, psychological and economic forms to express power and control over vulnerable individuals. SGBV is mainly perpetuated against women and children. However, men and boys can become victims as well.
Sexual violence is a form of gender-based violence; it does not only mean rape. Sexual violence include rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, forced nudity, sex trafficking, and sexual torture. Many victims of sexual violence get blamed, shamed and stigmatized. However, Sexual violence can never be a victim’s fault because it is an act that occurs without the person’s consent, and consent can also be withdrawn.
The TRRC proceedings which attracted a huge following among Gambians at home and abroad present a unique and unprecedented opportunity to address SGBV within the Gambian transitional justice context. It will provide victims a platform to narrate their ordeal as well as promote accountability and non-recurrence of such heinous violations.