More than half of the population in Dakar, Senegal, are women and quite a number of them have been abused and raped by the opposite sex.
It has become a ‘culture’ as it constantly happens in the communities. Organizations concerned with women rights and other civil rights societies have pushed the government with campaigns to finally criminalize rape and paedophilia in Senegal. This was made lawful early last year, January 2020, which prescribes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for perpetrators and 10-year imprisonment as a minimum sentence.
Despite the law, sexual violence against women and children persist. And the arrest of the popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko over an alleged rape case this year stirred up tensions in the country.
Sonko, a 46-year-old and a Muslim denied the allegations. The issue led to public disorder and he was detained by the police but was later released.
Currently, feminists in Senegal are actively fighting against the justice system and the excessive tolerance towards violence against women and children.
Aissatou Sène, spokesperson at the protest on Saturday held at the Place de la Nation, said:
“We expect the state to provide structures, shelters, and everything needed to support victims. What we want from the state today is for women, who make up more than half the population, to feel safe.”
“We are here for all the “Louise”, we are especially here for a “Louise” who was raped, filmed and this pornographic film of a minor was shared and the author did not worry until we, the feminists, denounced it. The trigger is this violence that Senegalese women are subjected to. If justice and the law were applied and rapists received the sentences they deserved, we wouldn’t be here today,”.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.