After enduring the horrors of a brutal rape, allegedly, by none other than the Deputy Minister of Education, the 24-year old University of Sierra Leone student is currently enduring the all-common bombardment of harassment and continued victimization faced by rape victims who are brave enough to report their rape in Sierra Leone.
The Sierra Leone society, instead of supporting or protecting rape victims, actually re-victimizes them in many other ways. The media leads this trend, especially when the alleged rapist is one of the Big Men (rich powerful men).
The media is mostly controlled by men in Sierra Lone, they decide what gets published; their first instinct is to report rape incidents in defense of their fellow men rapists. Could it be because they too are sleeping with young girls against their wills and therefore see no wrong in what the rapist has done? Mama Salone is just saying.
This is the ordeal this poor young lady is currently undergoing. One newspaper has actually posted photos of the young lady, in clear violation of the Sierra Leone Sexual Offense Act of 2012. Apparently, such a violation will only result in the payment of fines and an apology to the victim. Of course, no amount of fines can repair the damage caused by such biased and unprofessional reporting.
This same newspaper had nothing better for a headline but the underwear worn by the victim on the night of the rape. The bottom line, there is nothing to deter newspaper publishers from violating the law and re-victimizing victims, all they get is a slap on the wrist when their reporting is actually destroying the life of the victims.
It is also reported that the victim was actually put on the stand for cross examination by the many lawyers (18 lawyers) that are representing the alleged rapist; she has been so maligned by these lawyers and the media that the public is now against her and it is reported that crowds of people were around the court house booing at her and calling her names during a hearing.
The Sierra Leone government quickly disowned the issue by firing the alleged rapist, who was a cabinet minister at the time. Nothing is being done to protect the victim from further victimization. We understand that the case is not being prosecuted by the Attorney General, for a poor girl who cannot afford 18 lawyers like her alleged rapist, what are the chances of justice being served in this case? We are still keeping faith and hoping justice will be served.
THESE ARE THE REASONS VICTIMS DO NOT REPORT RAPES IN SIERRA LEONE.