President Bio renews his call on parents and communities to help end rape in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 July 2020:

It is now almost eighteen months since President Dr Julius Maada Bio declared a national state of emergency on the growing rape crisis in Sierra Leone.

Yesterday, he once again called on parents and local communities to support his government’s efforts in tackling rape, early marriage and all forms of violence against women and girls in the country, as the number of reported cases continues to rise.

Speaking at a high-level meeting with stakeholders at State House, the President said that it is the responsibility of government to protect the lives of everyone, as he emphasised the need to end all harmful practices that are affecting the growth and potential of women and girls in the country.

The President also used the occasion to commend the ‘Rainbow Initiative’ for their tenacity in doing a very difficult job – standing up for survivors of rape and sexual violence.

He noted that the statistics on rape in the country are grim, which is why he declared a national emergency on rape and sexual violence in February 2019.

“Rape is unacceptable because it is about the future of our children. The parents and communities need to stand up because it is better to work towards prevention. Parents should be attentive to raising our children. There is need for a multisectoral approach and coordination to get rid of impunity,” he said.

The First Lady – Mrs Fatima Maada Bio, said that the aim of the meeting with stakeholders is to brief the President on the task given to the “Hands Off Our Girls” (HOOG) campaign and to find strategies to help bring an end to the rape, teenage pregnancy and early marriage crisis in the country.

She noted that the HOOG has gone right across the country to engage relevant stakeholders and to raise awareness about the dangers of rape and sexual violence against women and girls. She also said that since its launch, they have achieved a lot but still need the cooperation of everyone, if they are to end this crisis.

Executive Director of Rainbow Initiative, Daniel Kettor, said that there had been a lack of support from the community for survivors, and this he said is affecting the fight against rape.

Kettor called on government to accelerate the work of the proposed One-Stop Centers, assign medical staff to those centers and establish more safe homes across the country, to assist and support vulnerable girls and women.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks you for posting ✌. Thanks to President Bio for his kind works towards this bad act. Lets’ keep proper attention before our girls are affected.

  2. Recently, a children’s rights charity in Kenya rescued a girl of 12 that was being married off to two men in the span of one month. Her father, in Narok County west of the capital Nairobi first married her off to a 52 year old man. She escaped, and was then forced to marry a 35 year old man before the children charity was tipped off about her fligt,and she was eventually rescued. What president Bio highlighted is that most of the cases involving rape are similar to the story of this Kenyan girl. Women in African societies are seen like a commodity rather than human beings. As a result women suffer from misogynist behaviour from men, more than any form of discrimination known to man.

    Sometimes, the communities where these rapes take place are hidden in plain view. These rape crimes go unpunished because male offenders know they can get away with this horrible crime. To tackle it, government needs to work with local communities, build safe houses for rape victims, a telephone hot line, because sometimes for victims, they are scared to tell anyone in fear of the backlash from their families or friends, education in our schools and colleges, and above all else stiffer penalties for offenders.

    There should be a special female police unit, that is dedicated to go after rapists and bring them to justice. Government, should also support charity organisations dedicated to bring this horrible crime to an end. So Sierra Leone women will feel safe again.

  3. The despicable attitude of rape is deeply embedded,implanted and entrenched in the social cultural and moral fabric of Sierra Leone.During independence,under the watchful eyes of the British it was a tender sapling that could have been easily uprooted by the inept Margai regime but now it has grown into giant Cotton Tree – it cannot be uprooted overnight as the incompetent SLPP is trying to do.Firstly,for things to become authentic,the First Lady must take her inexperienced hands off this program completely.we need to include more men who are authoritative figures to get involved in seminars,gatherings and meetings all over the country educating and explaining to young men why rape cannot be tolerated and encouraged in any progressive society.

    And then there should be incentives that are provided to leaders of communities for enforcing the laws against rape.I would advise that matured and older men,be put at the forefront of this fight against rape because in Sierra leone a lot of men,and young boys do not consider women as sound reliable role models that should be listened to and emulated at all.Sad,but very true.The First lady is another distraction,many believe she is fleecing the system and is not deeply committed to genuinely changing the lives of traumatized victims of rape in Sierra Leone.

    Ask yourself,after all the uproar and commotion how many rape victims has she and her husband adopted from the slums, squalor; from abject poverty and off the streets into more livable and hygienic surroundings?Again count them if you can,but how many SlPP ministers and officials have taken rape victims under their wings as their guides and mentors?The answer is none!Time for them to put their money where their mouth is;In this fight where lives can be easily snuffed out like candles in a storm empty cosmetic,brown-nosing rhetoric just will not suffice.Its time to put things in their rightful places and get serious!

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