COVID-19 and Sexual and Gender Based Violence
As the COVID-19 pandemic raged on, a startling upsurge of the "shadow pandemic" of violence against women became apparent, coupled with rising rates of gender-based violence (GBV) cases in various settings, including virtual platforms. With the devastations of the pandemic, there has never been a more critical moment to consolidate support, resources, and commitment behind the most significant issues, including addressing GBV, especially against women and girls. Of considerable concern, among many others, is defining the concept. For instance, the Women's Wellness Center (2006) describes GBV as any harm perpetrated upon a person from unbalanced or unequal power relationships characterized by social roles attributed to females and males. This description incorporates various violations and abuses, from sexual and physical assault to emotional and organizational abuse or the threat of such injustices and violations.
Due to the high predominance of violence against women and girls worldwide, it is obvious and natural to overlook that men and boys are victims too, and the pervasiveness of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) among men may be higher than previously imagined. Such victimizations against boys and men conflict with male stereotypes of machismo. Furthermore, there is a myth that women cannot perpetrate GBV atrocities, notwithstanding prosecutions for such violations and crimes.
Thus, there is a need for donors and policymakers to adjust societal paradigms of GBV and focus attention on female perpetrators and male victims as well. In addition, collecting data on SGBV prevalence augments the necessity to include men in SGBV definitions, representations, interventions, and policy-making processes.
To further discuss and find possible solutions to these issues, among others, join a panel of experts on 13th June 2021 at 9 AM New York/4 PM Nairobi.
Albert Migowa is a trained Counseling Psychologist. As a Psychologist, he understands the emotions and feelings of people, thereby able to communicate effectively. Additionally, he is also a Counselor with the Red Cross.
He has been involved in mental health projects with nationwide profiles, some of which have been supported by UNICEF, Danish Red Cross, Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS), European Union, University of Maryland, Ministry of Health (MOH), African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF), and the United States Aid Agency (USAID) through Afya Jijini program.
Currently, Albert is an Emotional Intelligence Facilitator. He is also a member of the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Network. To date, Albert has facilitated sessions for over 500 individuals, key institutions, and organizations, including Emerging Leaders foundation, Kamiti Maximum Prison, Siasa Place, Internet Society-Kenya Chapter, Rotaract Langata, Kenya Red Cross, Awareness 360, Coderina, the National Youth Council (NYC), and Kenya National Commission of UNESCO, among others.
Sarah Oganda is the lead Consultant Organisation of African Youth. She considers women empowerment to be of great importance due to the existence of a gender gap even in the 21st Century. She aims to be instrumental in the elimination of this gender gap.
Dr. Julia Kagunda's background in communication and her counseling psychology experience give her a competitive edge in handling people's issues and providing psychological support.
As a Counseling Psychologist, Julia provides professional support in stress management, trauma management, anxiety disorder, depression, marriage, and family therapy. Her clients include private individuals, couples, families, and organization-sponsored individuals. She has served the UN office in Nairobi, Amani ya Juu, ILRI, Save the Children, and Full Circle.
Prof. Samantha Winter is an Assistant Professor at the Columbia School of Social Work. Before joining Columbia, she was the Dorothy Byrne Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Health at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Dr. Winter's research focuses on inequities in women's health and access to health-related services; water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH) and health in sub-Saharan Africa; health-related behavior; access to and distribution of health-related services in informal settlements in East Africa; and the role of social disorganization in access to health-related services.
Mr. Daniel Wathome is a Gender Specialist and Training Coordinator at the International Peace Support Training Centre overseeing the training and research activities under the gender program.
He has participated in multi-dimensional peace support operations in different peace missions in Africa. He is the National Trainer on sexual and gender-based violence for the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region – Regional Training Facility on SGBV (ICGLR-RTF), Kampala, Uganda. He is also the Roving Facilitator at and on gender issues for Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), Rwanda Peace Academy, Finish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT), and Defence Staff College, Kenya. He is also the Technical Working Group Chairperson developing the National Police Service SGVV – One-Stop Centres (POLICARE).
In addition, he is a National Steering Committee Member developing the 2nd Generation Kenya National Action Plan (KNAP) on UN SCR 1325 and related resolutions. He is also a Member of the Gender-Based Violence National Technical Working Group (Kenya). Formerly a Probation Officer, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government – Kenya, Mr. Wathome was also a Part-Time Lecturer at Nairobi Institute of Business Studies, Maasai Mara University, and South Eastern Kenya University.