AVOID VIOLATION OF GIRL-CHILD RIGHTS


By: Stephen Ahereza
Research associate, WoGEM Uganda

Worth Noting:

  • More so, in some parts of the world like Australia, up to 68% of girls have been victims of sexual assault. Perhaps it’s the most recent kidnapping of school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants and the likelihood that they will be forced to marry their captors just like previous victims were.
  • Eventhough witnessing violence can be devastating. It’s important to note that one in four children under the age of 5, lives with a mother who is a victim of intimate partner violence. Such children are more likely to continue the cycle of violence as adults, either as victims or abusers.

The human rights of a female child in Uganda and elsewhere, even when protected on paper, are violated in practice. Girls are too often deprived of their rights such as the fundamental right to manage someone’s body and consent to sexual intercourse. Girls are subjected to female infanticide, feticide, lack of social and economic development, burdensome domestic work and denial of healthy living conditions due to rise of consumerism and corruption.

In Uganda, more than 6 girls experience street harassment and early marriages before they turn 18 years. The younger the girl gets married, the more likely she is to be socially isolated and dependent which makes her incredibly vulnerable to physical and sexual violence within the home. The perpetuation of traditions and practices that identifies a girl child as a burden or liability and a sex-object or commodity plus prevalent illiteracy, poverty and negative parenting lifestyle patterns has greatly caused early marriages.

More so, in some parts of the world like Australia, up to 68% of girls have been victims of sexual assault. Perhaps it’s the most recent kidnapping of school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants and the likelihood that they will be forced to marry their captors just like previous victims were.

Eventhough witnessing violence can be devastating. It’s important to note that one in four children under the age of 5, lives with a mother who is a victim of intimate partner violence. Such children are more likely to continue the cycle of violence as adults, either as victims or abusers.

Moreover, the consequences of harassment and violence are deep and long-lasting because girls always stay silent and invisible as the staggering gender statistics continues. Rising voices from girls, women, boys, and men saying that enough is enough can be the only solution to end the girl child rights violation.

Here are some ways on how to end the violation of girl child rights to live  free  from fear and violence.

Don’t abuse. It happens at home and in public. Be part of the solution, not the problem more so, sensitize girls at home and in the community about sexual abuse by exposing them to the digital social networks such as U-Report where they can join a global community to speak out.

In addition, supporting young activists by mobilizing communities to end violence against girls through sharing their stories with friends, family, larger networks like Women can also help them to live free from stigma.   They also require support by celebrating their accomplishments and help change their conversation. This will help them gain courage, self-worth and respect

Lastly, there is need to support survivors and call out sexual violence and harassment when you see it. It is noted that abuse keeps happening when people keep quiet about it.

In my opinion, we all need to send a clear message to the government, ministry of labour and gender development, both international and national civil society organization to come together to end violence against women and girls which will not be tolerated any more.

For God and my country

Ahereza Stephen

Research Associate Women for Green economy movement Uganda.

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