By Rohey Jadama
Girls’Agenda, a community based organisation (CBO), with funding from the Network Against Gender, observed Valentine Day celebration by organising a community outreach forum on Sexual Violence on the 14thFebruary, 2015 at Brikama Mansaringsu.
The forum, according to the organisers, was meant to encourage dialogue on pertinent issues affecting women, brainstorm on preventive measures such as increased life skills and encourage the reporting of incidents by victims.
In her introductory remarks, Ms. Matida Daffeh, the Coordinator of Girl’s Agenda, said the main objective of her organisation is to protect, empower and end violence on the girl child.
She gave a brief history of Saint Valentine’s Day and explained why they have chosen this day to organise a forum on sexual violence.
Ms. Daffeh said the celebration of Valentine’s Day has caused so many problems for women such as pregnancies, violence, etc.
She said early marriage, rape and teenage pregnancies are all violence against women as these experiences traumatize them.
Commenting on healthy and unhealthy relationships, the Girls’ Agenda Coordinator said “a healthy relationship is a relationship that is free from violence and an unhealthy is the opposite.”
She urged the parents to always be specific when advising their children on the dangers of engaging in sex. She also urged the girls to be very assertive to help end sexual violence against women and girls.
For his part, Alasana Gitteh called on the Government, parents, the victims as well, to help in putting an end to violence against women and girls.
Mr. Gitteh urged the parents to be open to their daughters so that they will have the courage to share with them any problem they may have. He added that love is not to hurt some, but rather to protect each other at all times.
Ebrima Ceesay, made a presentation on the Sexual Offences Act 2013.
The programme was attended by teenagers, adolescent girls, women of as well as traditional communicators who sang songs on violence against women and girls.