Putting an end to gender-based violence requires the active involvement of both men and women, who need to be aware of their rights and ways of reporting incidents of such aggression.
In Sakure and Lirangu, some 60 community members recently attended a much-needed, one-day workshop on these topics, with the event being organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
“Sisters who are beaten by their husbands suffer immensely, and justice is rarely provided. Our men need to change, it is long overdue,” said Alice Gabriel Anite, a women’s leader in Sakure, who was pleased to see that half of the training participants were men.
One of them was police officer Sethe Daniel Khamis, for whom the day served as a real eye-opener.
“I have listened to a lot of information that will be very helpful to better deal with cases of gender-based violence. I learnt about human rights and women’s rights – things I had never heard of before,” the law-enforcement agent admitted. “I think we would benefit from more awareness-raising on this topic here in Nzara County,” he added.
Albert Mugabushaka, a Human Rights Officer serving with the UN peacekeeping mission, tends to agree.
“As we visit different areas of Western Equatoria State, we often find that most cases of gender-based violence are not even reported. Communities need to know how to address the situation when these incidents occur, and for that to happen, they must be talked about and reported to begin with,” he said.
Once brought to the attention of the police and traditional chiefs, perpetrators must be held accountable, said Sarah Amujuma, a member of Western Equatoria State’s Transitional Legislative Assembly.
“There can be no impunity. Those who commit these crimes must face the consequences and not get away with their misdeeds,” she affirmed.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).