“Domestic violence continues to be a serious problem in Sierra Leone as 67% of women are said to suffer from domestic violence, which sometimes results in deaths or permanent disabilities”.
This was said by President Koroma at the National Stadium over the weekend whilst addressing women during the commemoration of the International Women’s Day in Freetown.
He added that women who suffered from domestic violence were less able to work to their full potential or effectively contribute to the economy, adding that children growing up in an environment of domestic violence were most likely to grow up embracing violence as an acceptable way to settle disputes.
“The Domestic Violence Act now takes domestic violence to the public domain making it a criminal offence and holding everybody accountable,” said President Koroma.
Elaborating on the theme “shaping progress implementing Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) imperative recommendations on women and the Gender Act”, Dr Koroma noted that women were armed with an array of instruments, both national and international, that were specifically geared towards the fundamental protection and promotion of women’s empowerment.
The head of state disclosed that at national level, “the ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs developed a National Policy on gender mainstreaming and the advancement of women in year 2000″.
The keynote addresser pointed out that, “the TRC report was forthright in its findings in a war that left thousands of women and girls physically battered and emotionally unstable” and was unequivocal in his demand that the problems of women and girls in particular be addressed.
Presenting a position paper from the women of Sierra Leone to President Koroma, Mrs Isatu Mustapha said the women of Sierra Leone urged the government to expeditiously implement the provisions in the TRC imperative recommendations on women, namely: presidential apology to women on behalf of the past, current and future governments.
She also urged the President for the 30% quota for women in all elective and appointed public offices in Sierra Leone.
Mrs Mustapha further urged the government to fully support the national institutions as provided for in the Gender Acts for full implementation.
She disclosed that, “women form about 51.4% of the total population of Sierra Leone, to our greatest dismay only 0.9% of the total budget is allocated to the National Machinery on Women”. By Abibatu Kamara