An Update from Mother of Hope Cameroon: Engaging Youth in the Campaign to End Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence
By Mbah Adah, See the Triumph International Ambassador
The Mother of Hope Cameroon team paid a visit to the Bali-Nyonga Students Association [BANSA] Buea on the 3rd of April 2016. During this visit, MOHCAM presented a talk on intimate partner violence, its forms and manifestations, and possible effects on young girls and young women. The visit was planned to serve as MOHCAM’s way of contributing to the fight against sexual violence which the international community is celebrating this month of April. The idea is to involve young people in the fight so as to preserve future generations from violence and broken homes as a result.
The meeting kicked off at exactly 4pm with an opening prayer by one of the members of the association. Immediately after that, the team was introduced by one of us who happens to be a member of the association as well. The president of the association then presented a welcome address to the team followed by a detailed exposé of the organization; its aims, targets mission and vision by the program coordinator for the Buea branch Sirri Cynthia. She went further to explain the importance of including young men in the struggle against intimate partner violence especially that which is sexual, making them understand the importance of maintaining healthy relationships. Shortly after the general introduction, there was another presentation done by Mundi Prisca on the different types of intimate partner violence and how they are manifested. The presentation dwelled more on the warning signs to look out for when getting into any relationship, signs which will detect a potential violent partner and unhealthy relationship. Some of such characteristics of such violent partners include threats, public humiliation, and forceful sexual practices and so on.
The next speaker, Agwe Cynthia, talked about the effects of intimate partner violence. She painted a clear picture of the disturbing effects of this kind of violence, relating it to health issues, emotional/psychological issues, self-worth issues and most importantly the effect it has on children of such violent relationships. The presentation on effects demonstrated how the cycle of intimate partner violence is continued and maintained through children as it has an effect on their psyche and they tend to imitate such behaviors on wives and girlfriends when they eventually grow up. Shortly after this, the last speaker did a presentation on the use of the female condom and the advantage of initiating safe sex in order to curb the rate of STIs, unwanted pregnancy and eventually deaths through crude abortion. The presentation on the use of the female condom was also directed towards making young girls and women to understand their rights to negotiate safe sex and to be able to detect partners who violate such rights as dangerous. The president of the group later took the floor and expressed great joy and appreciation for the visit, emphasizing that he in particular had learned a lot and hoped to see us again. Other floor members confessed to have never seen the female condom before and were thus happy to have had the chance to see it and learn more about it. The meeting ended at about 6:30pm with a rendezvous to be there again on a later date which will be communicated sometime soon and also with refreshment.