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Fritong Post embarks on SGBV campaign

Fritong Post, on Thursday 26th August 2021, embarked on community outreach and sensitization on sexual and gender-based violence issues at the new Dwarzack market in Freetown. The activity was undertaken to promote SGBV awareness among market women whose children are at risk or remain vulnerable to abuse.
Speaking during the sensitization, our Managing Editor Lawrence Williams enlightened the market women about their obligation to ensure responsible supervision over their children especially during their absence at home. He said studies have shown that most children in vulnerable and deprived communities like Dwarzack become highly exposed to abuse during holidays, and their exposure is heightened by a lack of parental monitoring and supervision.
Mr. Williams elaborated on the operations of the Sexual Offences Model Court (SOMC), the successes, challenges and the way forward for enhancing the justice system in so far as the SOMC is concerned.
“Police records show over 2,500 sexual penetration cases were reported in 2020 but the SOMC records indicate less than 400 cases were brought before it. This variance amplifies the gap that exists between investigation and prosecution on the one hand, and the impunity granted perpetrators on the other hand,” Mr. Williams said; adding that domestic violence cases also surged during this pandemic.
He advised the market women to not only be concerned about their daughters but also to pay close attention to their sons, citing the most recent case in Bonthe District involving two boys below eleven years who are being tried for sexually penetrating an 8-year-old girl.
He said Fritong Post is part of the MenEngage Sierra Leone network comprising media and civil society organisations working towards gender equality and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls in line with specific targets under goal 16 of the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Mr. Williams continued that similar activities are being implemented by MenEngage partners across the country with funds from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), supervised by the Men’s Association for Gender Equality (MAGE).
Speaking also during the event, MenEngage partner and coordinator of Black Opal, Mrs. Hannah G. Gillen, enlightened the traders on the relevance of the three gender laws, the Child Rights Act and the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act. She encouraged the women to speak up against all forms of domestic violence. Other partners of the MenEngage network made similar statements encouraging the traders to stand up against SGBV in their communities.
The chairlady of the market, Abibatu Y. Kamara underscored the significance of continuing the campaign against SGBV in Sierra Leone. She particularly thanked Fritong Post for targeting them at their market centre, noting that the information provided during the event has fully empowered them to serve as ambassadors of change in their respective homes and communities.
At the end of the sensitization, the Fritong Post management established a mutual understanding with the market women where the latter should provide a timely report on SGBV issues identified in their various communities to the former for one year.
Fritong Post is a local news entity specialized in journalism products and services, advocacy and report writing. They also do marketing, public relations for individuals and organisations and profiling of persons aspiring for elective positions.



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