Thursday, February 13, 2014

Justice? Equality? What are they? Haven't seen any round here for a while!!!

The war is surely not over but we have just won a minor victory. After 1 week of battling with the family we have finally managed to secure the safety of one of our girls: victim of an attempted rape assault.  How extraordinary to find the father of the girl trying to do a deal to get the boy freed!!!
The girl was put under pressure to change her story and then carried off to a village and hidden so she couldn't give her statement in court. When we pointed out to the girl's mother that this was sacrificing the girl's future and education she managed to get her back so we could take her to a safe place where she can continue her schooling.  The boy's family started again and managed to persuade her again not to let the girl go back to school.  In the end, the mother has accepted to have her daughter protected but she is clearly terrified of the family repercussions.
Unhelpfully, the police keep telling the boy's family that what they need to do is persuade me to drop the case!!!  I was in Kabala when the assault occurred, 3 hours away.  I did not take the case to the police.  I do not control the Sierra Leonean law! The law should take its course and the protection of the girl should be paramount.  It isn't.  There is no clear thinking in her family, among the police or in the community in general.

We are a long, long way from justice and equality for women in Sierra Leone.

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