Rape Culture in Sierra Leone is a major Concern

Paul Lengar
Posted June 25, 2020 from Sierra Leone

After hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Sierra Leone to call for justice for a five-year-old girl who was raped and murdered, Marta Colomer, Amnesty International’s Acting Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said:

“The outpouring of rage following this horrific crime shows that people in Sierra Leona have had enough of impunity for perpetrators of sexual abuse of children and gender-based violence. All too often, survivors of sexual violence struggle to access justice, health care, legal aid and counselling.

Over the weekend there has been an outpouring of outrage and consternation on social media and in the streets in Sierra Leone, following reports of the death of a five-year-old girl named Kadija. According to an autopsy, Kadija died as a result of complications from injuries sustained when she was raped.

Her family disclosed her name and provided photos and confirmed that she died on 17 June. The Police Criminal Investigation department said on Sunday that two people are in custody.

Sexual violence against women and girls is widespread in Sierra Leone. According to the Rainbo Initiative,  there were 3,137 and 3,695 cases of sexual violence in 2018 and 2019 respectively. On 19 February 2019, President Bio declared “a State of Public Emergency over rape and sexual violence”. The announcement came amid growing outrage following a series of cases involving minors. On 19 June 2019, the Parliament revoked the measure.

On 19 September, the Parliament finally passed the Sexual Offences Amendment Act. This new legislation provides that all trials for sexual offence cases will proceed to the High Court without having to be heard in a Magistrate’s Court to determine the sufficiency of evidence. The law also prescribes life imprisonment as a maximum penalty for perpetrators of rape of a child.

Comments 9

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Jun 25
Jun 25

Thank you for sharing Dear Paul ,
It hurts me so much to see a
Girl child being molested .

Paul Lengar
Jun 25
Jun 25

Communities need to take the lead in reporting cases, naming and shaming perpetrators

Hello, Paul,

Welcome to World Pulse! What a joy to know a new voice from Sierra Leone is rising up!

Poor lovely girl. Rape is appalling! We cry for justice. We stand with you. Thank you for raising your voice to ending rape culture.

Who are those beautiful girls on the photo?

Please write more! We love to know more about you, what you do, and what you deeply care about.

Welcome again to our growing Community!

Ellie E.
Jun 27
Jun 27

Thank you for sharing and highlighting this deeply troubling issue.

Jun 27
Jun 27

Paul Hi :) Welcome to World Pulse.

I have been reading stories on social media about several cases of rape involving young girls. This is very sad. It breaks my heart. I hope the community would be able to do something.... protecting young girls and women from this kind of situation.

Thank you for sharing.

Your story is your power. Become a man of Passion. Be an encourager to be encouraged.

Jul 03
Jul 03

Hi Paul,

Hope you're well.

Thank you for letting us know what is happening in Sierra Leone and the change that has taken place.
It would be interesting to see how cases are progressing through the High Courts and the sentences that are given. Do you know the types of sentences that have been given out to perpetrators since this new law has come into place?

Jul 07
Jul 07

Hello Paul,
Welcome to World Pulse, I welcome you and commend you for sharing your story because it is very rare that such stories come from males!

This tells me that you are have a concern for the girl child in your community and that it how it should be.

It is very unfortunate that the issue of "rape" and other forms of violence against female minors, girls, and women has become a pandemic in many countries of Africa.

It is extremely painful, shameful and heart-breaking because its ramifications are broad and life lasting. The people who are supposed to protect these children against harm are often the perpetrators.

The rape of minors, girls and women in Africa is a "Public Emergency" that needs a concerted effort of parents, educators, political, social and religious leaders.
Unfortunately, this issues is now beyond the capacity of law enforcement agencies such as the police.
I would strongly encourage you to bring this issue to communities where parents of the children, uncles, neighbours and relatives live.

The problem has been going on for a very long time, and it can no longer be ignored.
Perhaps begin by educating some volunteers (men like yourself, women, and girls) to go and raise awareness of what is going on so that parents and others are aware.

I would argue that without awareness, and without a collective effort, this problem cannot be solved by the justice system because it is overloaded, in most cases dysfuntional and extremely slow to act.

African communities are very good at solving their own problems and I encourage you to empower them to solve this horrendous problem.

Once again, we stand with you. More power to you. Let's know how you are going. Keep up the good work.

In solidarity

Jul 09
Jul 09

Hi Paul,

A wonderful development. I'm glad the government is stepping up to their responsibility to ensure that the girl child and the female is protected and avenged in matters pertaining to sexual violence/abuse.

The Sexual Offences Amendment Act seems to have addressed only the girl child or minors who are female, though. How does it intend to address the wrong suffered by women?

Thank you for sharing. Always warms my heart to see a male stand up for women. I pray others will learn from you. Please keep us updated.

Anita Shrestha
Jul 13
Jul 13

Thank you for sharing

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