On Monday, June 22, 2020, dozens of Sierra Leoneans gathered in the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone to protests the death of a 5-year-old girl Kadijatu Saccoh, who died on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, after she was allegedly raped.
An autopsy result confirmed that Kadija was raped and that led to her sudden death. Details in the autopsy result seem to be too upsetting and disturbing.
Protesters said they came out to the street to seek justice for victims of rape and sexual penetration in Sierra Leone. And that there are many other Kadija’s out there all over Sierra Leone, who have suffered sexual abuse offenses and rape and they need justice for the victims.
Meanwhile, sexual abuse offenses and rape over the years have increased and according to the Sierra Leone Police Annual, Crime Statistics Report over 3,252 cases related to rape and sexual penetration were registered in 2019, of which the majority are children and girls. So far, investigations into the death of the deceased are ongoing and the First Lady, Her Excellency Madam Fatima Maada Bio has called on the police to look into this matter with intelligence.
Speaking with Sal Jalloh, Coordinator Justice 4 Kadija Movement, he condemns the act of sexual penetration against girls and women in Sierra Leone. They as protesters are seeking justice for the 5-year-old girl and all other girls and women who suffered sexual offenses, but their voices haven’t been heard and their cases have been compromised by either the police or family members.
“We came out to send out a strong message and that message is very simple enough is enough. We have seen an increase in rape cases all over our country, women and girls are the targets of this devilish act. Some will feel it is a fight for women, but I say it a fight for us the men if only we want to restore sanity in our society and country as a whole. It is a fight that we must win together. We are calling on the Government to act now, we need the laws to be enforced, we need a forensic lab, we want tougher laws to be enacted so that perpetrators will face the full penalty of the law as fast as possible,” said Sal Jalloh.
Last year, the president of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio declared rape as a national emergency, and the country’s sexual offenses laws were tightened. Also, the First Lady ‘Hands Off Our Girls Campaign” has been advocating for violence against women and girls, early marriage, and teenage pregnancy.