Source: The Daily Observer
The Girls Agenda, a community-based youth association on Sunday held a day long forum on sexual violence against women, at the Regional Education Directorate (region two) in Brikama, West Coast Region.

The forum ran on the theme, 'Challenging sexual violence on Valentine's Day', and was funded by the Network Against Gender-Based Violence (NGBV). It targets the youths, especially adolescent girls, to avail them the opportunity to meet and dialogue on relevant issues such as preventive measures against violence, encourage reporting of gender-based violent incidents, and to promote life skills training.

Speaking at the forum, Matida Daffeh, the coordinator of Girls Agenda, expressed their commitment to ensuring that the rights of girls and women are fully respected.

She further expressed their resolve to engage stakeholders so that together they can stand to combat some of the issues confronting women, and secure a strong protection of their rights.

Daffeh thus challenged the participants to contribute meaningfully by raising concerns for discussion.

Adolescent girls, she observed, are vulnerable to sexual violence in communities and dialogue on the subject are often very limited. She thus emphasised the need for people to bring to the fore any sexual violence against women.

While reiterating the need for people to stand together and fight against gender-based violence in all its forms in the society, the coordinator thanked the participants and the Network on Gender Based Violence for their support and contribution to the success of the forum.

Alasana Gitteh, a member of the Girls Agenda, commended members and the Network on Gender Based Violence for their staunch fight on violence against women.

He asserted that young people are core in carving the future of any nation and that the association and its partners are on track by encouraging more youths especially the women folks to be steadfast in the fight against sexual violence.

He thus advised the participants to celebrate Valentine's Day with their partners in development or families, rather than celebrating it in a way harmful to their future.

He informed that come this coming Saturday (Valentine's Day), the association will celebrate the day in the form of community outreach sensitisation on issues relating sexual violence.

In his opening remarks on behalf of the coordinator of NGBV, Fallu Sowe described the forum as relevant.

He explained that the Network on Gender-Based Violence, is a consortium that supports organisations, groups or individuals in one way or the other and is protected by the law to battle against gender-based violence.

Sowe described gender-based violence as a human rights violation; and thus called on people not to condone.

The government, he said, has empowered women by enacting the Women's Act, and therefore called on people to report issues regarding sexual violence against women on time, to enable the law to take its cause.

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