AdvocAid & Partners Amplify Awareness Raising Drive on Access to Justice for SGBV Survivors
(SLENA, 30th March, 2021). AdvocAid - Sierra Leone in partnership with Legal Access for Women Yearning for Equal Rights (LAWYERS) and Troicare with funding from the European Union (EU) on Friday, 26th March 2021 continued their awareness raising drive on 'enhancing access to justice for SGBV survivors, and as well as promoting the rights of women and girls' in Western Area (Freetown), Bombali and Kenema districts.
The training took place at the Milton Margai School for the Blind Hall on Wilkinson Road, Freetown bringing together participants from the National School for the Deaf and the Milton Margai School for the Blind.
George Nathaniel Sheriff a Paralegal at AdvocAid introduced the session and mentioned that the training was an EU funded project activity, adding that there will be legal education sessions for various women groups on what SGBV entails.
Sheriff disclosed that the training will also make provision to educate the survivors on SGBV laws, noting that with knowledge on SGBV and its laws, survivors or victims would be in a better position to prevent and similarly be able to report SGBV perpetrators to the appropriate authorities for further actions.
The Legal Manager, AdvocAid - SL - Lydia Kembabazi, noted that the project is to enhance access to justice for SGBV survivors and as well as to promote the rights of women and girls.
"For women with disabilities, sexual and gender-based violence is often exacerbated by disability-based discrimination. The social stigma coupled with specific disabilities that make it difficult in recognising and avoiding danger, put disabled women and girls at a heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence. For example, a blind or deaf person might not see or hear any approaching threats to be able to protect herself especially if the perpetrator is a family member or someone close to the woman or girl," she lamented.
She disclosed that similar training for women and girls with disabilities is also being carried out in Bombali (North), Kenema (East).
She encouraged the visually impaired and the deaf women and girls not to be discouraged as a result of their physical conditions, admonishing them to pursue their ambitions in life and be bold enough to report any cases of SGBV.
Rounding up her discussion with the women and girls, the legal manager, engaged the students / participants in a question and answer session in order to ascertain how much they've learned from the discussions on SGBV issues.
Marvel Thompson , a teacher at the Milton Margai School for the Blind expressed her deepest gratitude to AdvocAid, LAWYERS and Trocaire for training the girls and women on such a sensitive topic. Marvel called on other institutions to replicate the good work of the institutions and pleaded with the institutions charged with the responsibility to dispense justice to SGBV survivors.
She urged the appropriate authorities to strongly condemn and prosecute any acts of rape in the country through robust investigations so that victims of rape will get justice.