By Momodou Jarju
The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) will begin hearings on sexual and gender-based violence in its next session slated for Monday (October 14th 2019) at its headquarters in Kotu.
A press statement from the communications unit of the TRRC said cases of the aforementioned category would be heard from victims and survivors starting from 14th to 31th October 2019.
The Truth Commission is probing the human rights violations committed during the reign of ex-President Yahya Jammeh, which spanned 22 years.
Below is the full statement:
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 includes 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can never be a victim’s fault because it is an act that occurs without the person’s consent, and consent can also be withdrawn.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.