Honoring Women’s History month cannot be complete for us as women from Sierra Leone without honoring the girls and women who suffered untold mayhem during the war by what is known as gender-based violence ~ violence endured just because they are women ~ including rape, other sexual violence, sexual slavery, slave labor, abduction, assault, amputation, forced pregnancy, disembowelment of pregnant women, torture, human trafficking, mutilation.
Violence against women was not just incidental to the conflict, but was routinely used as a tool of war. Sexual violence was used in a widespread and systematic way as a weapon, and women were raped in extraordinarily brutal ways. Africa Renewal
Thousands of women were martyred in these horrific manners and many survived. These surviving women are invisible warriors, not because they survived but because they returned with unbearable pain, into communities that do not know quite how to receive them, with no resources to support their new handicap; they literally returned to a new battleground as they fight to reintegrate into their families and communities; they continue to strive for survival with one arm, one leg, some with no limbs and deep physical, psychological and emotional wounds.
Yet these women continue their day-to-day struggle for survival, care for their families and contribute to their communities, all with the faith, strength, resilience, beauty, grace and signature smile of Sierra Leonean women.
WE HONOR EACH AND EVERYONE OF THESE WOMEN AND PRAY THAT PEACE PREVAILS IN OUR HEARTS, MINDS AND BELOVED LAND ~ ESPECIALLY IN THIS ELECTION YEAR!