Sierra Leone: Wife battering still a common practice

Mkandeh
Posted March 7, 2015 from United Kingdom
Marie is still healing the wounds from the regular beating she receives from her husband

As the world gears up to mark the international women’s day on March 8th this year with the theme ‘Make It Happen’, it is disheartening to note that theissues women face both in private and in public are still popular.

Marie (not her real name) was on Friday beaten by husband Abu and dragged on the rocky grounds of Wilberforce in Freetown, Sierra Leone. According to Marie, this is not the first time she’s being beaten so mercilessly by her husband. It is a common practice and whenever Abu does what I will describe as his usual ritual, he will put curse and reign insults on any would be intervener. As a result of this, people in the community are afraid to openly confront Abu or even chastise him for his abuse of his wife. He openly bragged that he paid Marie’s bride price and that what he does to her is none of his neighbour’s business.

Sadly, Marie’s relatives are in the province and she’s still scared to leave her wife beater husband to go to her family because of the Ebola outbreak. ‘I can’t go now’, she said ‘I have to wait till our region is completely rid-off of Ebola. That’s the only thing keeping me here,’ she said.

However, due to her neighbour’s secret advice, Marie reported the matter to the police and it is being investigated.

Marie is not alone, most women in Sierra Leone suffer similar fate. In fact it is an open secret that most Sierra Leone husbands beat their wives. Quite recently, a local journalist started a Facebook discussion on a man in the heart of the country’s capital Freetown, who is renowned for beating and dragging his wife on rocky grounds at a place called Circular road.

Statistics show a very damning reports on the spate of domestic violence in Sierra Leone, particularly so in the western area including Freetown. In 2012, the western area reported a total of 1,923 domestic violence while in 2013 the number rises to 2,073. The highest in the entire country and over 95% committed by husbands against their wives. This excludes the provincial area of the country that hosts the majority of the population. Considering the fact that a good number of domestic violence is unreported, it displays a worrisome state of Sierra Leone’s women.

Even when domestic violence is reported, there’s very little hope that prosecution will follow knowing how the patriarchal system operates.

Nevertheless, the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone Police, the Gender ministry and other NGOs working on women’s issues are making effort to put an end to domestic violence. But the road is still long and rugged and there is need for more education while punishments for such barbaric abuse of women need to be severed. It is only through such efforts that we can actually see the end of women’s abuse actually happens.

#IWD2015 #MAKEITHAPPEN

Comments 6

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Kim Crane
Mar 09, 2015
Mar 09, 2015

Mkandeh, thank you for sharing Marie's struggle, which is the struggle of so many. Through you sharing her story, she is not alone. I hope that Marie can get to a safe place soon. I hope the day will come when no one would think to hurt another human being like this -- in public or in private. 

Mkandeh
Mar 10, 2015
Mar 10, 2015

I share your thoughts Kim. I can't wait for that day when every woman in small villages as well as big cities will enjoy the freedom to move, heard and be seen without any fear of oppression or bullying. I really can't wait.

Emily Garcia
Mar 09, 2015
Mar 09, 2015

Dear Mkandeh,

Thank you for sharing Marie's story. I echo Kim's words above - may that day when no one would think to hurt another human being like this come soon. The road does seem long but I'm hopeful that the small acts of resistance (like those of Marie and her friend) will build up to a local, then global resistance against violence against women.

In solidarity,

Emily

Mkandeh
Mar 10, 2015
Mar 10, 2015

Thanks for your comments. With the internet we are able to share these stories and boost our support for these women. We are getting there. blessings

Yvette Warren
Mar 11, 2015
Mar 11, 2015

It is so important that we continue to tell these stories and show the wounds inflicted on women and others in the use of violence as a way to address issues with others. Thank you, Mkandeh, for having the courage to tell this tragic story.

I am certain that this October, in Salt Lake City Utah, USA, we will make known to the world that women's voices matter in all things. I am acting as an ambassador to the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions http://ParliamentOfReligions.org. For the first time, this year, the parliament is having a "women's initiative."

In addition to asking my WP sisters and brothers to consider attending the parliament, I am working with World Pulse Sister Zeph https://www.worldpulse.com/en/community/users/sister-zeph, SHEROES United http://www.sheroesunited.org/, and One Billion Rising http://www.onebillionrising.org/events/women-of-the-world-we-rise/ to create a parade of people in support of social justice for women. Sister Urmila https://www.worldpulse.com/en/community/users/urmila-chanam/posts/34846 is bringing her menstrual hygiene campaign to the parade event.

I would love to have you and a group from the "Make It Happen" movement join us in support of your efforts.

Mkandeh
Mar 24, 2015
Mar 24, 2015

Thanks Yvette.

I am more than willing to join te campaign. Thanks again

Me