Caritas-Freetown Engages Boys & Men on their Role in Combating SGBV

By Abubakarr Harding

Caritas Freetown on the 17th February,2023 engaged men and boys drawn from twenty communities in a one-day training exercise on SGBV prevention at Cole Town-Waterloo under a Project titled “Strengthening Behavioral Change on SGBV Prevention,” which was aimed at educating and raising awareness among men and boys about SGBV and its negative impact on women and girls.

The training exercise was a vital step in encouraging behavioral change among men and boys and promoting gender equality. The participants learned about the various forms of SGBV, the laws and policies in place to protect women and girls, and the understanding of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Participants were also taught about the referral pathway, the role of Men and Boys to mitigate GBV and Sensitization skill. It was indicated that women and girls who have experienced SGBV often face multiple challenges, including stigma, shame, and lack of access to justice.

Caritas Freetown aims to address those challenges by working with communities to promote access to justice and hygiene for vulnerable women and girls.

Margaret Bassie, the Outreach Officer of Caritas Freetown, emphasized the importance of educating men and boys about their role in the community and the laws related to SGBV in order to fight against it.

She noted that  most SGBV cases are committed by men and boys and that any form of sexual act without the consent of the other party is rape, which is against the law.

Margaret explained that although both men and women can be victims of rape, men are less likely to report such cases due to their ego, while women are more likely to report them and therefore it is important to educate men and boys on the seriousness of SGBV and its negative impact on society.

She also revealed that Caritas Freetown has implemented this project in different communities  but this time they decided to work with other communities that have not benefited from the  project. The project is set to run for one year and will continue to focus on raising awareness among men and boys about SGBV, promoting access to justice and hygiene for vulnerable women and girls, and encouraging behavioral change.

She added that the work of Caritas Freetown in combating SGBV is commendable. By targeting men and boys, they are addressing the root cause of the problem and creating a more equal and just society.

James Aruna Kargbo from Rokel Community, a participant of the training session expressed his gratitude for being part of the program. He stated that while they have heard about SGBV before, the training provided them with a different perspective on the issue. He acknowledged the importance of understanding SGBV and the laws surrounding it in order to prevent it from happening in their community.

James further stated that with the knowledge gained from the training session, he will work to implement the new perspective and strategies to prevent SGBV in his community. He also pledged to educate others about the importance of preventing SGBV.

Barrister Christian Carter (Davies-Cole), a Gender activist and model Ambassador of Caritas Freetown, provided important insights into the laws surrounding SGBV in the nation. She stated that the Government has set up laws that criminalize sexual offenses, and anyone who violates those laws will be punished accordingly.

Barrister Christian Carter (Davies-Cole) went on to highlight some of the crimes of SGBV, which includes sexual penetration, rape, improper dress code, and other forms of gender-based violence. She emphasized the seriousness of those crimes and the negative impact they have on the victims and the society as a whole.


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