For GBV… Women Demand Justice in Sierra Leone
The women of Port Loko District on Valentine’s Day celebrated the first One Billion rising in Africa V-Day on the theme, ‘Strike, Dance and Demand Justice’ from the police, education, health and the judiciary.
The celebration started with visits to hospitals, schools, police and the Local Council where various stakeholders, including principals of schools, expressed satisfaction over the move taken by women of the District to stand up to curb Sexual and Gender Based-Violence (SGBV) through justice from the police, judiciary and other law enforcement agencies.
During the visit to the Police Divisional Headquarters in Port Loko Town, Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay, the organizer, told senior officers of the Sierra Leone Police that women are suffering from selective justice in rape cases maintaining that 207 counties celebrated Valentine’s Day last year while 310 counties, including Port Loko District in Sierra Leone, celebrated this year’s Valentine’s Day for the first time.
She articulated that the day is celebrated to ensure that the law enforcement agencies protect women, especially the girl-child suffering from Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) adding that one of the things affecting rape victims is injustice, especially orders from above and recalled that one of the reasons for the decade-long war in the country was the injustice suffered by women and appealed to the police to protect rape victims.
Rugiatu Neneh Turay also admonished stakeholders at the Port Loko Government Hospital, including the Medical Doctor, Foday Sesay to desist from accepting money from women suffering from pain during childbirth adding that Government has introduced the free healthcare scheme for lactating mothers, pregnant women and children under-five and admonished young men and women of the Hajvic Club Center in Port Loko Town to respect the virginity as well as change their habit of maltreating women.
According to Rugiatu Neneh Turay, African Governments should support women who suffer greatly from inequalities and disadvantaged asserting that domestic violence, rape and indecent assaults are on the increase and challenged all, especially women, to stand firm, build solidarity and make a u-turn to promote women issues in the country as well as in Africa.
She further called on human rights and civil society organizations to ensure that women’s issues are heard and urged stakeholders to include women in the governance system as they are part of the decision-making process.
Various other stakeholders expressed satisfaction over the move taken by Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay to ensure that women’s voices are heard.
By Abdul R. Bedor Kamara
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