Gender-based violence has been on the rise since the Anglophone crisis started in the North West and South West regions. Girls, women, children, and men have experienced violence either physically, emotionally or psychologically.
The information was revealed by Fuh George Kisob, communication officer of Medicin du Monde during a one day workshop for professional and student journalists in Bamenda on the 1st of June 2019. Organized by Medicins du Monde, the workshop served as a platform for participants to get an in-depth understanding of GBV.
Participants were also drilled on the meaning of Gender and Gender-based violence which are some key concepts that the society needs to understand.
What is Gender?
Gender refers to the roles of a woman or man given by society and it varies from one society to another.
What is Gender-Based Violence?
Gender-based violence is any form of pain inflicted on an individual based on gender roles. It can also be referred to as any form of pain inflicted on a person base on power-over (the power we have over others). For example financial power over someone.
Fuh George stated that children and women are more vulnerable to GBV because men have power over them. “These are sensitive cases, and that’s why journalists should be ethical in reporting GBV. It is more traumatic for children, therefore, reporting a case that concerns them needs to be handled with care.” Added Fuh George
Participants also designed posters carrying positive messages on GBV that cuts across society. These included tips on how journalists should report on GBV as follows:
• Do not blame the survivor – for example, don’t say he raped her because her dress was indecent.
• Prioritize the victim, not the perpetrator.
• Focus on the perpetrator.
• Avoid judgmental language.
• Do not report details that can expose the survivor.
• Consult experts in GBV.
• Get informed consent from the survivor.
• When doing an interview, make sure you consider the needs of the survivor.
• Make sure the interview is conducted in a secure place.
• Treat your survivor with respect.
• Avoid words or questions that are insensitive to a person’s culture.
• Explain the goal of your interview and Explain the potential risks and what you will keep confidential.
Drawn from the University of Bamenda (Uba) final year student journalists used the workshop as an entry point into GBV reporting.
“The workshop has opened my eyes to GBV, women empowerment and how to help victims of GBV. As a student, I now know how to segment my report and expose perpetrators without victimizing the victims.” Says Chombom Larrissa
Getting a clear understanding of GBV is important for those new to journalism, reasons why these students had the first row seats.
Peicheu Brenda from Uba says attending the workshop has changed her perception of GBV and domestic violence. “I use to think the two concepts are the same but today I understood that there are similar but different. I will now write stories on GBV without causing more pain to the victim.”
Medicins du Monde runs a listening and orientation center at the Bamenda Regional hospital where survivors of GBV go for counseling free of charge. They also offer social and economic intercessions to economically empower survivors and enlightened family members on how to help them nurture survivors self-confidence.
Maikem Emmanuela Manzie