Sierra Leone Declares Rape a National Emergency

Rape is a national emergency in Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio declared last week; he outlined ambitious plans to stem the crisis.
Bio declared sex with a minor punishable by life imprisonment, ordered free health care for rape victims, created a special police division, and set up a national hotline. More than 8,500 people reported sexual- and gender-based violence in 2018; about 70% of the cases involved a minor.
The hitch: There’s no funding. And gender inequity is deep-seated. “Being treated equally by the police and the criminal justice system ... will take a significant shift in attitudes,” says Rebecca Wood, executive director of AdvocAid.

NPR Goats and Soda

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