January 14, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mustapha Bai Attila, says 100 sexual and gender based violence cases were reported at the ministry last year, predominantly involving women and girls.
Attila was speaking yesterday in his office in the wake of a case involving a 12-year-old girl at Grey Bush, off Accession Town in Freetown, who was sold off into married by her parents to a 50-year-old man – Allieu Barrie, a mechanic.
According to the Deputy Minister of Gender, many women and girls lost their lives while others were disabled as a result of sexual and gender based violence.
He said that despite being preoccupied with putting an end to the Ebola outbreak, government is monitoring every act perpetrated against women and girls, and assured that the law would take its course against anyone found wanting of committing acts of violence against women and girls.
He noted that sexual and gender based violence has dramatically increased in the past years despite huge international and local efforts to curb the menace.
Although he did not specifically cast blame on any institution for the increase in sexual and gender based violence, Attila urged the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone Police and the Judiciary to increase their effort in putting an end to the act, as many victims seldom get justice.
He said that most victims of such acts are afraid to prosecute perpetrators because of fear of intimidation, due to lax victim and witness protection.
Meanwhile, Allieu Barrie, 50, is still on the run more than a week after police declared him warranted for marrying a 12-year-old primary school girl.