Officials from the Global Women Emancipation in Sports, GWES, schooled media practitioners on the need to fight violence against women in sport by denouncing and sensitising key sport actors on the dangers of such acts on the athletes’ performance.
This was during a seminar on sharing experiences, communication techniques on violence in sports, glorification of excellence and leadership of women in sports. The symposium took place at the conference hall of UN Women in Yaounde, on May 12.
GWES officials bid all sports reporters to get informed, report with facts, and accompany victims in combating the scourge. This is because, journalists can influence with their write-ups, even though they cannot directly change things. Thus, going by Yoanne Claude Elong Bebey, sports-Team Manager of U-17 Female National Football team, the most paramount communication technique is anonymity, so as to minimise the victimisation of the already traumatised victim by the society.
In a bid to prevent Gender Based Violence, GBV, in the sports milieu, she beseeched reporters to denounce in utmost neutrality, ensure balance reporting by allowing all actors to voice their viewpoints. To her, violence in sports is usually regarded upon as a taboo subject particularly in Cameroon and in Africa as a whole, in which the victim is the victim is looked at as the tormentor by the society.
According to GWES officials, a glaring example of GBV in sports is that fact that, out of 52 sports federations existing in Cameroon, only two are managed by women. Also, female coaches are often positioned as deputy coaches in senior football squads. Reason why, the organisation is set to promote excellence among women and encourage more women in sports leadership in Cameroon.
Barrister Edwan Ngum Tah Tebe, Laurent with the Cameroon Bar Association, educated the journalists on the myriad of punishments ad fines they would be faced with should they publish or broadcast defamatory statements, unverified information or blackmail amongst others. To this, she urged them to arm themselves with the law, awaken the publics conscience and not expose victims of violence to stigmatisation by ensuring complete confidentiality.
“Establish protection mechanisms of athletes who want to break the silence or those, go have done that already, educate our children to express themselves whenever they feel threatened,’ stated Salomon Mfouapm, UN-Women Representative, while reiterating that, the sports milieu should not be demonised as a result of the numerous violence.
Talking to press, Victorine Fomum, GWES President said, “this struggle can never be done by GWES alone, it’s a collective action, a collective movement, a collective sensitisation and that is, why today we are working with communicators and we are waiting to see how far they are going to communicate this act. So, if they don’t do it, it would be violence against women who are yet to be celebrated.”
“Violence against women in the world of sports is real. It is a scourge that must be fought with all our energy. We see more and more in sports, especially in women’s sports, that talents die because of their moral integrity. For example, because they refused to give in to the advances of certain coaches, they are put aside. Because they have refused to comply with ungodly things, they are put aside,” explained the 2017 African Volleyball Champion, Victoire Ngo Ntame and added that, “we should not only look at the fault of our coaches, even between us athletes, we do violence.”
In the meantime, Carine Atezambong Fomo, FIFA female and international soccer referee and teacher at the Higher Institute of Youth and sports, was celebrated for distinguishing herself in the midst of a sport domain dominated by men.
“It is true that it is not always obvious to see women among men in a stadium. But with the rules of the game that the International Federation of Association Football has set up, we do not really encounter discrimination against women. It is true that during a match, human beings can make mistakes, because no one is perfect. It is normal that a player gets angry, but it is inadmissible that this one harms a referee, because she made a mistake or a bad decision,” she admitted.
She however called on other women to believe in themselves so as to achieve their goals in life. “For all the women who would like to follow in my footsteps, I tell them that you have to work hard, fight to achieve your goals, because success is based on work. In other words, a woman must believe in herself.”