Youth and women in Twic County decry sexual gender-based violence, call for change of attitudes
A loud call for rule of law and an end to using physical force against women and other practices affecting females negatively was heard at a two-day workshop organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to raise awareness on sexual gender-based violence.
“Women here are subjected to rape, early and forced marriages, frequent beatings, abandonment and low enrollment of girls in schooling,” lamented Ms. Akoi Deng, one of 30 participants at the event, which targeted youths and chiefs in Turalei in Warrap State.
Ms. Deng and others in attendance expressed the opinion that some people are using “culture” as an excuse for achieving “their own selfish goals”, in the words of one of them.
“What we (women and girls) are experiencing here is another form of slavery. We are sold for cows. We don’t have a say in our homes,”, noted Nyanyai Riak Yak Chol.
Male participants also urged traditional leaders to work closely with local authorities to empower women in their communities and to engage men to put an end to sexual gender-based violence.
“Many women and girls have suffered in silence for a very long time,” said Gabriel Majiok Athuai.
Chief Arop Monydeng stressed the importance of traditional culture and the preservation of a common heritage but said that peace and living in harmony with each other must be given preference.
“As the custodians of culture, we will try to implement some positive changes so that our primary goal of peaceful coexistence can be achieved,” he concluded.
Roda Sube, a Gender Affairs Officer serving with the peacekeeping mission, assured everyone present that working to end all sorts of violence against women and girls remains a priority for the UN family and that work to eradicate it will continue.