My country Sierra Leone is situated at the west coast of Africa. As a small country with an African setting so many women and girls are suffering Sexual Gender Based Violence in silent. I can remember growing up as a girl I was scared to death when a man sexually penetrated my half niece who was 7 years by then and instead of my grandfather who was a local chief prosecute the perpetrator for his wrong doing he just fined him huge amount of money as a chief in return for the girls dignity. And this same man attempted to do the same to me when was 12; I was scared to tell my mum because I taught no action will be taken , I had to threaten the man that I will tell my dad who was a soldier by then, so he never attempted that on again. But growing older I still think about all the other girls he has tampered with in silent and they are afraid  to say it out, because of the stigma and lack of stronger voices to speak for then.

This is what so many girls and older women are facing today in my country, for the past 9 years  working as a journalist I have covered lots of cases were either the  father penetrated his 10 years old daughter or an uncle or relatives molested these girls who look up to them for protection. The worst of it all is a 40 years old man who penetration a 9 months old baby who couldn’t survive the pain and later died in the hospital. Tears run down my eyes when I think about all these atrocities. I remembered when reporting one of these sexual penetration cases I burst into tears because I could no longer contain it.

In 2012 these case of sexual penetration and Rape went on the increase so much that it raised serious alarm that the government and other women organizations needs to do something. This prompted a peaceful protest by a woman organization called Women in the Media Sierra Leone an organization which I belong to. We sent lots of letters stating the increased in sexual penetration and rape to government offices and other women’s organization to join us in the fight to eradicate Sexual Gender Based Violence ,lots of them made promises to speak up and take action including the chief justice by then who was a woman.

But since 2012 much hasn’t been done and situation is getting worst most especially in the provinces were the presence of the law is not too visible. Last year we saw photos of an 18 years old girl who was raped and murdered at Lumley beach in Freetown. According to the only pathologist we have in the country the girl suffered terribly in the hand of several guys with several fractured bones, cracked skull, broken spine and many more. Women combined together protested again and held a night vigil at the spot where that poor girl suffered to death. The then Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs  promised that all the areas around the beach will be monitored at night with CCTV cameras and police officer to prevent such things from happening again, but not even a year from that last case more than three women and girl has been raped and murdered along the same beach. My only question is if the government in monitoring the way they should or it was a mere promise to calm down grieving women who were protesting for their fellow women.

As a journalist I want to do more, but I can’t because I am limited to the pen and Microphone, this problem prompted myself and other journalist to form an organization called “Journalists Against Sexual Gender Based Violence” with the aims and objectives covering more untold stories and bringing perpetrators to justice  but this dream was cut short because of lack of funding to spread into the interiors were there are more untold stories .And that’s why I decided to use this medium to get all the attention we need and end SGBV in my country Sierra Leone.

This post was submitted in response to Share Your Story On Any Topic.

4Encouragement

Such a touching story Eastina!

I want to start by saying you are already doing a great job, using your voice, pen and microphone as a journalist to speak out against this gender based violence.  

This is other platform where your voice and efforts can be brought to light together with those of other strong women like yourself!

Courage and donot give up. The change you seek is right there, in French it is said "petit a petit l'oiseau fais son nid" literally translated as little by little the bird makes its nest!

Change is brewing!

This is to your imminent success

Cheers!

The Best  you can ever be is YOURSELF! 

Leila Kigha

Hello Eastina,

Thank you for sharing your story! It was heartbreaking to hear of your and your half niece's experiences with gender based violence, as there was absolutely little to no retribution. I want to commend you for how far you have come in this journey. I completely admire the strength and courage you have gained, using your journalism to voice your stance against the subject and change the lives of women and girls. I look forward to hearing more about your future endeavours.

With kindest regards,

Helen Ng