Oct 1, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The United Nations Police sensitized local police in Eastern Equatorial to ensure that gender based Violence survivors including teenage girls feel empowered to report such cases to law enforcement.
According to a report released by the State ministry of Education, more than 300 teenage girls were either raped, forced into marriage, or used as “girl child compensation” [given to another family as compensation for a crime committed by a member of her family].
Most of these cases go unreported for fear of family and society.
“My father threatened to kill me if I refused to marry the man, he chose for me. I was afraid that reporting a parent to the police would be of no help. So, I hid from my family at a friend’s house. Only my mother knew where I was,” said an 18 years old south Sudanese girl.
“I was afraid for my life and didn’t want further complications if I went to law enforcement. However, thanks to my friend and my mother, I learned that if I reported to the Special Protection Unit that I was forced into a marriage against my will, they will protect me. This is what gave me the confidence to come forward,” she added
Rumour has it that only 20 of these girls have formally reported their ordeals to the Special Protection Unit of the South Sudan National Police Services (SSNPS).
An increase in gender based violence against girls and young women in Torit saw UNPOL deploy offices in the area to assess the impact of Coronavirus lockdown specifically in terms of gender based violence.
UNPOL started a sensitization campaign for local police and communities focused on deterring gender based violence.
Lieutenant-Colonel Adelino Oliha Olilir said that lack of mobility to access crime scenes, especially at night and during this pandemic is one of the challenges that they face.
Charles Shimanya, UNPOL SGBV Adviser in Torit, said that the local police need to develop a rapport with the communities they serve.
“In terms of our local counterparts in the SSNPS, this sensitization drive is an effort to build bridges between them and local populations, so that conflict of any sort, including violence against women and girls, is reduced, and people start reporting such incidents to local police without fear or mistrust.” He said.