Home Freedom News Gambians Stand Up Against Rape, Sexual Assaults

Gambians Stand Up Against Rape, Sexual Assaults

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Barely a week after Human Rights Watch (HRW) released its findings over sexual abuses perpetrated by Gambia’s former longtime ruler, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of Serrekunda to denounce rape and other forms of sexual assaults many women are confronted with.

“We organise this demonstration in support of every rape victim,” Maimuna Manneh of the collective Parafreedom Organisation told this medium as protesters were descending Kairaba avenue, heading down to the Youth Monument.

TANGO and other civil society groups spearheaded the march-past as rape cases are spiralling out since Fatou “Toufah” Jallow broke her silence over Yahya Jammeh’s sex crimes. Authorities spared no efforts to open an investigation over rape cases involving a top official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a Kaur-based immigration officer.

She said they want to make sure that their voices are heard so that all sexual predators will be brought to justice.

“A rapist is a rapist and they must face the full force of the law,” she voiced out in an attempt to send a clear signal that there will be no comfort zone for rapists.

As they braved the sun to make their voices heard, protesters were holding  banners bearing slogans such as “No To Sexual Violence” , “Rape Destroys Human Dignity” and “No Woman Deserves Rape.”

Madi Jobarteh of the Westminster Foundation made it clear that going after rapists does not mean they are being iconoclast.

“Any regime that systematically kills, tortures can rape,” he remarked. He then added: “Jammeh was able to do this because Gambians were complicit. We failed to hold our leaders accountable.”

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As the former governing party (APRC) and some masochists are pushing ahead with the objective to change the narrative, Toufah Jallow unequivocally announced that the era of impunity is over.

“We march, we speak until you hear us, until there is no more rape,” she said while indicating that the omerta will no longer prevail on sexual violence cases.

“We are no longer protecting you!” she exclaimed.

Fatou Camara, a leading voice in Gambian media, decried desperate attempts made by some people, trying to demonize Toufah for coming out with her story.

The Fatunetwork top executive said critics have no rights to challenge the veracity of the story given by rape victims.

“Who are they to say this does not happen,” she said with exasperation.

The Victims’Center Chairperson, Sheriff Kijera, expressed his disappointment about the taken by the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) to side with Jammeh.

“From their reaction, I am not seeing any willingness to seek for reconciliation,” Kijera deplored.

“They are not remorseful about their actions,” he added.



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