Violence against Girls within the Community in Africa

Theme:
  • Violence Against Children
Pages: 30
Year of Publication: 2006
Country: Africa

To understand the concept of violence against girls, it is important to examine it within the broader context of the historical and structural inequalities that exist between men and women in the world. While violence and discrimination against women is not peculiar to Africa, some of the practices, attitudes and values that are prevalent on the continent can exacerbate these vices and need to be confronted.

This discussion does not in any way imply that boys and men do not experience violence in the community. They do. But ascribed sex roles, biological differences and community structures mean that girls are more predisposed to violence than their male counterparts. This in turn prevents girls from developing their full potential as human beings and contributing to the community in which they live. 

There have been estimates of the number of children, and girls in particular, who are victims of violence. However, such estimates fall way short of actual figures because many communities still condone the practice. It is important to be cautious, therefore, when analysing and interpreting statistics that relate to violence against girls. It is more useful to emphasise the dimensions and perceptions of the problem, and the response within a community.

For the last 40 years, United Nations (UN) agencies and other international bodies have highlighted the problem of violence against girls, and have called countries to take action. Accordingly, most African states are signatories to the various international and regional instruments to prevent discrimination against women - and many have taken domestic measures to enforce these instruments. The fact that the international community now recognises the severity of the problem shows increasing awareness, and is a good indicator of the magnitude of the problem.

It is one thing, however, to make declarations, sign treaties and conventions - and quite another to ensure that violence against girls is eliminated from African society. Socio-economic conditions, attitudes and cultural institutions remain vital challenges to the eradication of the problem.

Language: English
Published by: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Author: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Located in: Publications
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