STATEMENT ON NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION, 7TH FEBRUARY 2019
On Thursday 7th February 2019, the President of Sierra Leone announced a national emergency on rape and sexual violence in Sierra Leone. The emergency was announced at State House and Rainbo Initiative were honored to be there to deliver a speech preceding the President’s announcement.
Rainbo Initiative’s speech was read by Dr Olabisi Claudius Cole, the Chair of Rainbo Initiative’s Board and one of Rainbo’s 2 medical doctors working at the Freetown Rainbo Centre. You can read the speech below:
His Excellency Dr Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, her Excellency Mrs Fatima Bio the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Honorable Chief Justice, esteemed Ministers, members of the diplomatic community, the press, ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s historic declaration is a landmark in tackling Sexual Gender Based-Violence in sierra Leone and this was made possible by the tireless voices of survivors (women & girls) and activists who have been working on this issue away from the spotlight, without resources or recognition.
We thank the president for listening to these voices and acknowledging the urgency of this issue and for allowing Rainbo Initiative to make a statement on this historic event.
Since inception in 2003, Rainbo Initiative has transformed itself into a well-established, reliable, credible national service provider that has supported over 30,000 survivors of GBV and 93% of them are girls under 17 years old. We are the only provider of free medical and psychosocial services for survivors of Gender Based-Violence (GBV) in Sierra Leone. At present, Rainbo Initiative operates 5 Rainbo Centres situated at government hospitals in Freetown, Kono, Kenema, Bo and Makeni.
Gender-based violence and rape is a huge problem in Sierra Leone with the World Health Organisation estimating that 1 in 3 women will have experienced rape within their life time.
In 2018 Rainbo centres saw 3,137 cases of sexual and physical assault in our 5 Rainbo Centres highlighted below: