Nov 4, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Women and youths in Eastern Equatoria State, who attended a sensitization forum, were trained on how to desist violence against women and girls.
These women addressed the challenges they face when carrying out their duties especially when the darkness sets in.
“Many women are raped when they go to collect firewood or even if we step out from our homes after dark. However, we don’t know the correct procedure to report such serious offences to the police.” said Salome Chandia, a volunteer for Resilience Organization, a local nongovernmental set-up.
“Because of this, in many cases, perpetrators never get caught. If a rapist remains free, he becomes emboldened to repeat this heinous act,” Salome added.
According to Ms. Aisha Will, a traditional leader from the Ilanyi residential area in Torit, Eastern Equatoria, on several occasions in the past, communities living here have felt that they were denied justice, especially survivors of domestic abuse and sexual- and gender-based violence.
She adds that, many perpetrators of violence against women and girls allegedly roam freely among the very people that they are said to have harmed
“Many of the community members I lead are reluctant to report incidents to me because they feel that local law enforcement does not actively punish the guilty,” said Ms. Wills
“It makes me terribly sad and helpless. How am I supposed to be an effective leader if I am unable to assure my people that law and order exists and create awareness among them about the legal recourse available for all who have been wronged?” She adds.
Captain Solomon Oliha Cypriano, Director of Legal Affairs at the Torit Police Station also agrees that sensitizing local communities, especially women, about the correct procedures to follow when reporting acts of criminality or abuse of any kind is a cogent need.
“If we don’t follow due process and substantiate claims with medical evidence, the case will never stand up in court. I am aware, though, that many women see this as a delaying tactic on the part of the police. We need assistance in explaining to them that it is a necessity for their own protection as well as for us to ensure perpetrators are punished to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
To counter this information vacuum, state authorities and partners teamed up to come up with a comprehensive approach towards sensitizing young people on the need to desist from criminality and violence against women or girls.
The UNDP has supported the convening of the rule of law forum, which addresses issues of transparency and accountability in the justice system.
“This Rule of Law forum has helped innumerable survivors of sexual- and gender-based violence to get legal aid services and as well as the psychosocial support they need,” says Lucia Jovani, Rule of Law Officer, UNDP.
“It’s not an easy task—holding perpetrators accountable—but as the UN family in South Sudan, we remain committed to speaking up and supporting the rights of women and girls.” Lucia added.