According to statistics from Rainbo Initiative at a press briefing on Friday 5th February, 10,582 people suffered from Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) between 2018-2020 in the five areas they operate in Sierra Leone.
Going through the figures at their Smart Farm office in Freetown, the Deputy Executive Director of Rainbo Initiative, Gibril Kargbo, said in 2018 they supported 3,137 survivors, and this increased to 3,897 in 2019, but dropped to 2,548 in 2020. These were all SGBV victims who reported to their centres in Freetown, Kono, Makeni, Kenema and Bo.
“To date we have helped more than 45,000 women and girls, 93% of which are below the age of 17,” he said, adding that they are presently operating in 40 communities, eight in each of the five.
Analysing data on sexual assault, Kargbo said “the year 2020 showed that we had 3,584 Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases. 209 (6%) of them were survivors of physical assaults, while 3,339 (94%) were sexual assault survivors.”
He underscored that 97% (3,339) of the sexual assault and 26% (209) of the physical assault cases were adolescents.
The Deputy Director further revealed that Freetown recorded the highest number of sexual assault cases in 2020 with 1,409 followed by Kenema with 710, Bo with 495, Kono with 422 and Makeni with 303.
“It is unfortunate that despite these measures, we continue to witness soaring cases of GBV, with most of them going unreported and survivors suffering stigma, discrimination and worse still loss of life,” the Deputy Director lamented.
“We have seen horrible stories of survivors including two and three month old babies as our youngest survivors and a 100 year old woman as the oldest recorded for the year 2020 at our Rainbo Centre.”
He also mentioned the treatment of 10 male survivors in their centres.
Highlighting some of their challenges, Kargbo said they still don’t have enough safe homes for GBV survivors in their operational areas, no availability of forensic labs nationally to further test evidence, and there are still widespread toxic assumption, judgment and victim–blaming attitude held by members of the public on consent, among others.
The Deputy Director promised they will continue to provide free medical and psychosocial service, build and establish a centre of excellence in Freetown, and become a hub for SGBV data in Sierra Leone.
By and large in 2020, according to Rainbo Initiative, 3,548 people were assaulted; of which 3,339 were sexually and 209 were physically assaulted.