Our society is a patriarchal one, which means men are the head and leaders of the home or the family. We grew up in a society where our mothers will do anything to protect our fathers, uncles, and brothers at any cost, even if that means shutting us up or pushing us out to the streets. Rape and other violence against women had been on a constant rise since the year 2000. Even with all the constant cries and intervention of the government, public, NGOs. We have not seen any rape case treated with urgency and actually making the perpetrators felt the true wrath of the law. Neither have we seen any decline in these figures
Rape is prevalent in our society and I believe that these things really do happen every day in our communities, schools, universities, workplaces e.t.c. We just choose to ignore, pay less attention or give a blind eye with the saying ” ar know say e uncle de sleep with am or beat am but nor to me business”. Rape and violence had always been there, but only coming to light now because of the awareness, education, access to social media, etc. As citizens, we all have a part to play to help get rid of the vice for good.
I am not a rape victim but I am a victim of sexual molestation and that happens just when I was about five/six years and those images are locked in my memory. I didn’t understand then and I was manipulated, touched by people who are family and we’re supposed to protect me. They asked me to touched them in places. Up till now just thinking and writing about it I am disgusted. I have shared this story with only shared two people, and one of those two people is my husband. This just goes to show how people don’t talk about these issues because of shame and stigmatization.
Firstly, the fear of stigma, shame, and victimization of the victims prevents them from coming forward. It is ironic that sometimes even the older women will not believe the victims, or even if they do will tell them outrightly to keep quiet about it and not to mention to a single soul.
Our girls are been violated by the very people who are supposed to protect them. How can you rape your own daughter, niece, cousin, sister, friend? The feeling of entitlement and the audacity to just look at the opposite sex and think you should force yourself on her and snatch her dignity and pride is what I still cannot wrap around my head. As women and mothers let’s be on the watch for our daughters they deserve a life too. Their bodies are theirs and it is their decision to maintain and keep. Let’s be vigilant, don’t allow your daughters to sit on any man’s lap, don’t send them alone to older men “go and collect money for me ba to Karim”. Go and collect it yourself. Don’t send them at night. Talk with them, let them know it’s inappropriate for them to be touched and it’s also not right if someone asked her to touched them. Above all women must stop covering for their men, fathers, sons at the expense of other women, girls, daughters, etc. Report anything you notice. Let’s get it right with our sons; let’s raise men not rapist; let’s raise men, not boys who raised their hands on women; let’s raise men who will protect our girls and not prey on them. Speak up the Silence must stop!!!
Salone men you can do better. Raping, molesting and hitting the very ones you should guard only goes to show how cowardly and weak some of these perpetrators are. Men who rape lack real self-esteem and so using force on women give them validation rather than satisfaction. They are excited by the rush and the feeling of power and control. Let’s take that control from them by reporting these cases. The government takes that control away from them by treating these cases with urgency and letting the perpetrators face stiff penalties, including life imprisonment or death, will go a long way in sending a message that they mean business. Let’s stop making excuses. These victims are not calling on these men to be raped. When you go to the beach and see women clad in a bikini will you go and rape them? Just because they put on a bikini. Clothing or the lack of it does not warrant someone to be raped. Most times in this household where rape happens the girls are mostly covered.
Let’s join hands as a nation to eradicate this madness. We need the support of everyone, including our men. If we notice any of these acts in our communities please let’s report it. We all should be vigilant in protecting our young girls. They deserve it, Speak up! the Silence must stop!
Sierra Leone is ours to make. We can only be successful at this if we raise a strong and healthy generation of men and women; physically and mentally they will be able to excel in everything. Let’s heal our mothers, sisters, and daughters. Let’s protect them. Women are the backbone of every society, they multi-task and juggle, they are caregivers. They give so much and ask for nothing in return. All we ask, as mothers are for our men to support us in this journey to eradicate or reduce the rape statistics in Sierra Leone. Speak up! the silence must stop! Lonta✌✌peace out @dasalone_titi
©By Rahima Vandy-Kargbo