Sexual harassment on the increase in the regions
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, have on Friday, October 11 celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child at a jam-packed Miata Conference Hall in Freetown with the theme, ‘’Innovation for girls education.’’
Speaking on the occasion was a prominent Lawyer and Commissioner of the Human Right Commission of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Yasmine Jusu Sheriff, who urged Sierra Leoneans to recognize the significance of female role models. She gave as example, the late Mrs. Stella Marke, who, she said, was the first Sierra Leonean female Lawyer from the English speaking African countries.
Madam Sheriff pronounced that polygamous marriage is a breach of Islamic law. She further dilated that the prohibition of girl child marriage is not a governmental or constitutional law but a prophetic law. She stated that if the leaders of this nation fail to prioritize the girl child issue, no matter what they claim to do they will achieve nothing.
She further stated that there was therefore the urgent need for all citizens to take a stand and get ready to work as a nation in order to bring change and transformation to the country.
She stated that statistics show that sexual harassment of school girls is worsening which she said was an indication of failed systems. She urged young girls to name and shame to the public the men who are hell bent on destroying their futures. She applauded girl children for the great strides they are taking to transform this country for a brighter future.
In her statement, a representative from the Northern Region, Miss Teresa Sesay, told the gathering that there is a lot of harassment of girls in their region.
She described the celebration as important and memorable because as she put it, it gives them the opportunity to be seen and heard. She emphasized that teenage girls in the Northern region are prepared to be educated as they consider education as the umbrella of any nation. She observed that if “you educate a girl you have educated a nation.”
She stated that in the Northern Region the situation of girls is more terrible as teenage pregnancy is on the increase there and child marriage has become very rampant. She confessed that girls are not motivated to study Science subjects and expressed gratefulness for the 30% quota given to women for political participation.
She appealed to her colleague pupils to pay attention to their education, and urged parents to provide school facilities for their children. She also appealed to Government and non Governmental organisatiions to do more to strengthen the girl child education.
Speaking on behalf of the Eastern Region, Miss Fatmata Arnold Sesay said there are many challenges that are affecting girl child education in their region. She noted that even though there is free education for girls but the extra costs they pay prevent girls to stay in school. She observed that sexual harassment has caused a very negative impact on the education of the girl child.
She recommended that Government should ensure that free education for girls is free indeed and strictly enforce laws against sexual harassment.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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