The Family Support Unit (FSU) in Kailahun District has revealed an increase in incidences of child rape in three of the district’s chiefdoms.
Kissy Kama, Kissy Teng and Kissy Tongi chiefdoms all in the Kailahun District have been named as notorious chiefdoms for cases of child rape according to the Line Manager of the Family Support Unit in the district. According to him, two to three under age children are raped daily between the named chiefdoms.
Alpha Daisy Koroma pointed out that during the height of the ebola virus disease outbreak in the district and following the presidential declaration of the State of Health Emergency, teenage pregnancy became common in the three chiefdoms, a situation that was mostly attributed to the movement restrictions caused by the emergency regulations and the imposition of early curfews in many parts of the chiefdoms.
Koroma revealed to this reporter, Wednesday, 10th June 2015 that inasmuch as “drastic measures” were taken against perpetrators, which include imprisonment and levying of fines as deterrents, “the situation has turned out to be worse at a time when Kailahun District itself has gone over 100 days without any new case of ebola infection. “Every day, at least, we receive reports of two to three cases of rape across the three chiefdoms,” the FSU Line Manager disclosed.
He further disclosed that for the months of April and May, 2015 they received 39 cases of rape cases that have culminated into pregnancies all involving teenage girls.
Mr. Koroma however admitted that most of the perpetrators have evaded justice by escaping to neighbouring Liberia when reports are made against them. He said the chiefdoms are very close to Liberia which provides easy escape for the perpetrators, and this situation, he also admitted has made it extremely difficult for the police to pursue the cases in pursuit of justice.
“Some of the villages where these raps cases take place are far-away villages from the police station and the perpetrators on tip off that they are being reported to the police will just cross over the border into either Liberia or go to Guinea,” Mr. Koroma explained.
He also however mentioned what he said was “compromise” by village authorities who he maintained contributed to “aiding and abetting the criminals by hiding the incident from reaching the police.”
He acknowledge the efforts of the social workers in the Kailahun district whom he said have in spite of the seeming collaboration of village authorities to hide the incidences from the police, have been able to unearth over 160 cases in the district since the start of 2015. He said most of the victims later turn out to have been infected either by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV/AIDS.
The FSU-Kailahun District Line Manager thinks more community sensitization and awareness-raising is needed in the three notorious chiefdoms as well as the promulgation of stringent chiefdom bye-laws “to protect the dignity, sanctity and future of young girls in this part of the country,” he appealed. He also called for a collaborative effort of local authorities, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, local and international Non-governmental organization to find a lasting solution to the rape menace that he said, is undermining the development of the girl-child in those three chiefdoms since, he maintains, “all young girls in those three chiefdoms are at risk of being raped and prematurely impregnated.”