Concord Times (Freetown)

1 August 2013

Sierra Leone: Wimsal Protests Against Rape Today

Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), an affiliate body of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), will today protest against the alarming rate of rape incidences in the country.

In recent times, there has been a surge in reported cases of rape and sexual penetration of women and under-aged girls across the country. From Kailahun in the east to Freetown in the west, and Kabala in the north, to Bonthe in the south, women and children have been raped and sexually violated by men and boys with almost reckless abandon. Worse still, most of these cases are reportedly being compromised either by the police or family members.

A 12-year-old victim recently narrated her ordeal to Concord Times about how she was sexually abused by a 40-year-old man, who is still yet to be prosecuted because her family members have compromised with the perpetrator, apparently after the latter paid a huge sum of money.

Vice President of WIMSAL, Princess Gibson, disclosed that members of the organization and other prominent actors in society will today conduct a peaceful protest match on the streets of Freetown to register their displeasure at the increase in rape cases in the country.

She added that spanning one year, rape cases have been reported all over the country, which she said is very alarming and has prompted them to take action by calling on the government, through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, to address the issue as a matter of emergency.

She outlined their demands as the enforcement of the Sexual Offences Act of 2012; enhancing capacity at Rainbow Centers across the country to treat rape and sexual offences victims; and speedy trial and stiff punishment for perpetrators; which are some of the issues of serious concern to WIMSAL and which the government should address.

Meanwhile, WIMSAL has published a press release highlighting the issues of rape and egregious sexual offences perpetrated against women and girls, and their impact of the victims, including a bleak and uncertain future, as well as trauma and stigma for the victims.

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