Gender-based violence is a worrying problem that affects all of Africa. It is difficult to get accurate data on sexual violence in Africa. It is only possible to access statistics from 18 out of 54 African countries. The latest data, which the African Development Bank (ADB) reported in 2019, indicated that there is a prevalence of sexual violence that varies from 10% to 40%. This is one of the highest compared to the rest of the countries in the world.
Furthermore, after the COVID-19 outbreak, cases started to increase. For example, in East Africa, there was an increase of 48% in gender-based violence, while in South Africa there was a 37% increase, according to Ministries responsible for gender in the regions. The following are nonprofit organizations working to reduce sexual violence in Africa.
Organizations That Are Ending Sexual Violence in Africa
- Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW): This nonprofit organization began in 1995 and is currently based in Nairobi. Its aim is to empower women and girls, creating a society without any kind of discrimination and sexual violence. It is currently following a strategic plan started in 2018 to achieve freedom, protection and safety for women. It is working towards better access to services, women’s empowerment and the successful application of laws of gender in the country.
- Masimanyane Women’s Rights International: Founded in South Africa, Masimanyane Women’s Rights International has been working since 1996 when it joined the Amanitare Sexual Rights Network in Uganda. The organization wants to eliminate gender-based crimes against women. It is also encouraging people who have HIV/AIDS to get the help that they need. Additionally, it is helping women and girls understand their rights and their reproductive health. In addition, one of its aims is to make sure that everyone has an equal chance, regardless of their gender, with the successful application of laws and policies to support their project.
- People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA): People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) started its work in 1979 when a group of women was helping other women victims of domestic abuse. This South African NGO successfully built its first shelter in 1981 for women suffering from sexual violence. Furthermore, it improved access for women in remote and disadvantaged communities across South Africa, such as Limpopo, Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga provinces. It also provides psychological help for the victims, organizing in-person or online counseling.
- Sonke Gender Justice: Based in South Africa, its main objective is to reinforce and improve government involvement in gender justice. This can allow for the reduction of poverty and gender-based sexual violence and a better understating of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV and AIDS. It uses media and is often a guest of radio stations around Africa. Its latest project in 2016 is Thuthuzeleka, a radio transmission where it gives guidance on rapes and gender violence.
- Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF): This nonprofit organization started its work in 2016 due to a concern about a large number of violence and rapes in Africa, especially in Nigeria. Currently, WARIF has 4131 rape centers, 12,199 education initiatives and 12,238 community initiatives. It created a shelter that provides immediate free help and services for victims of sexual abuse.
Sexual violence is an important issue that affects Africa. Fortunately, there is a process underway to decrease it. The above-mentioned five organizations have the same desire to help and support the victims of sexual abuse and share knowledge in order to prevent such atrocities.
– Elena Luisetto
Photo: Wikipedia Commons