CAEPA Survey - Violence Against Women (VaW) in Cameroon’s North West Region

CAEPA Cameroon
Posted February 8, 2020 from Cameroon
Training women on human rights monitoring
Training for women human rights monitors on abuse monitoring,documentation and reporting
Sexual and reproductive health and rights workshop
Sexual and reproductive health and rights workshop: This workshop was conducted to create awareness about reproductive health, the menstrual cycle and personal hygiene among women. It was attended by 62 participants. (1/2)

Recently, CAEPA Cameroon, and NGO based in Bamenda, Cameroon’s northwest, has conducted a voluntary, non-compensated survey of 320 women. The purpose of the survey was to assess how much awareness exists toward VaW, whether women know their rights when it comes to reporting incidents, as well as what the general consensus is toward VaW in the region. The questionnaire consisted of thirty-three (33) questions, most of which were in Yes/No/n/a format, though some questions required a short answer.

 

Findings:

 

Out of 320 women surveyed, about 88% (281) have heard of violence against women, and 55% of all women surveyed (176) have been a victim of such assault. Furthermore, about 86% of the women surveyed believed that sexual intercourse without consent is considered a violation on their womanhood. It is interesting to note that out of 14% of women who did not agree that lack of consent was a violation to their womanhood, only 6% believed consent was not at all needed, while 8% of the respondents did not have an opinion.

 

Out of 320 women surveyed, 100% answered Yes to being a victim of violence. About 40% (128) reported being assaulted between the ages of 1-15, 29% between the ages of 16-25, 24% between the ages of 26-45, and 6% age 46 and above. Many women surveyed reported have been a victim of or a witness to numerous types of assault, including general assault (beating), coercion, early and forced marriage, being forced into harmful practices, public shaming and humiliation, intimate partner violence, murder, prostitution, rape, social isolation, severe verbal abuse, sexual harassment, spousal abuse, and trafficking.

 

When asked about the perpetrators, 62% (199) of the women survey reported being abused by their husbands, while 28% (89) reported being abused by their boyfriends. One in four women also reported being abused by one or both parents, and one in three married women have been abused by their in-laws. All 320 women reported being abused not only by close family and other relatives, but also by law enforcement officers, bosses, as well as hooligans.

 

While most abuse victims reported the incidents to a friend  (35%) or a relative (42%), others confided in social workers, husbands, pastors, social workers, and police. It is interesting to note that out of 320 women surveyed, only 2.5% (8) reported to police officers. This alone is indicative of the patriarchal roots on which regional traditions and customs are based upon. Traditions in which men hold more power than women. Traditions in which women are scared to report abuse out of fear for being marginalised and publicly humiliated.

 

From the survey, it is also evident that women are abused from early childhood, throughout their adult life, and even in their senior years. The abusers are people who, under normal circumstances, would protect and shelter them - their husbands, boyfriends, parents, and in-laws. Instead, women in Cameroon's Northwest communities live in a constant state of fear. Article 18 of the Cameroonian Constitution states that “The State shall ensure the elimination of every discrimination against women and also ensure the protection of the right of the women and the child as stipulated in international declaration and conventions.”  Everyday verbal and physical abuse, sexual exploitation, public shaming and isolation, and other forms of discrimination against women in Cameroon’s Northwest region clearly demonstrate that traditions rooted in misogyny take precedent over the book of law.

 

Non-government organisations (NGOs) such as CAEPA Cameroon continue to fight for women’s right and to educate women on how to become independent and self-reliant. This is done through vocational training (agriculture, farming, environment protection), education (use of technology, accounting, entrepreneurship classes), healthcare (voluntary HIV/AIDS screening and education about safe sex practices), counselling, and community outreach programs.

 

Violence against women is a serious and growing problem in Cameroon’s Northwest region. In addition to gender stereotyping rooted deeply in tradition and folklore, the situation has been exacerbated by the influx of internally displaced people (IDPs), poverty, unemployment, disease, and other factors brought about by the in-fighting and corruption. We must protect women and children by providing early intervention, ease of reporting, access to counselling and healthcare, but also by educating the perpetrators and would-be perpetrators on equality and women’s rights. It is an uphill battle, but one that can be overcome with time if enough resources are put into place.

 

Comments 14

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Anita Shrestha
Feb 08
Feb 08

Dear Sis
It is really heartbreaking issues about women. Please do more and more for favour of this groups. Dear what is your next plan for minimizing this types of negative things. Plz do good for them. You are sources of their inspiration

CAEPA Cameroon
Feb 08
Feb 08

In order to tackle the extreme record of Gender-Based violence in the Anglophone parts of Cameroon, particularly in the North West region, CAEPA aims at reducing cases of sexual and gender-based violence and enhancing the rights of women and girls through advocacy, policy dialogue, capacity building and community partnership in the Northwestern region of Cameroon.

Hello again, CAEPA Cameroon,

I appreciate the work you are doing, especially on conducting surveys in order to provide statistics on gender-based violence and even on widowhood (previous post).

I hope you can connect with our Cameroonian sisters here. Thank you for sharing this with us!

CAEPA Cameroon
Feb 08
Feb 08

Yes ofcourse At CAEPA Cameroon we believe when people facing injustice come together to understand their situation, put in the open what is often hidden, they can identify solutions, and work collectively to demand or create a more just reality. What they need are resources, knowledge, allies and constant support in order to succeed.

You are truly doing important work, CAEPA Cameroon! Thank you for doing all of these. We appreciate you. Have a lovely day!

CAEPA Cameroon
Feb 10
Feb 10

Thank You

Martyiyi
Feb 08
Feb 08

Tears running through my eyes. It is really heart breaking. God is our leader.

CAEPA Cameroon
Feb 08
Feb 08

Don't cry Sister that is the reality about our situation and if we don't rise up and say enough is enough no one will do it for us. Stay well

Jill Langhus
Feb 10
Feb 10

Hi there,

Thanks for sharing your work and post. Do you have any social media page(s)/link(s) for us to like/follow?

Felicitas Wung
Feb 10
Feb 10

Is terrible my dear.
Thanks for the information.

laison sylvie
Feb 10
Feb 10

I connect completely. Thank you for sharing those facts.

CAEPA Cameroon
Feb 10
Feb 10

You welcome sister

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