Governor asks SGBV victims to speak-up
By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei
Western Bahr-el Ghazal State Governor (WBS) Sarah Cleto asked victims of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Wau to speak up and report to the Police in order to be able to deal with the perpetrators and to reduce cases of SGBV in the Country.
This came as a response last week when an Activist in Wau reported SGBV cases toCeasefire and Transitional Security ArrangementMonitoring and verification (CTSAMVM) during the Governor’s visits to Wau to find out about the general security in the State.
Speaking during the meeting, SarahCleto said that people who have decided to be silent without reporting their issues to the police should take the initiative of choosing reporting to help in reducing SGBV in WBS and South Sudan in general.
“I wouldn’t deny that there are no cases or incidents of SGBV in WBS, however, there would be cases but chances of the victims having chosen to be quiet for reason known to them might be there and that is why there is a need of awareness and I would like to call upon the victims of SGBV to speak up by reporting, to reduce this problem,” she revealed.
On his part, the Chief of Staff of CTSAMVM Arun Pal said that issues of SGBV are all over the world, however with a slight difference.
“These issues of SGBV are all over the world including the country I come from but the differences are that these cases are reported and the perpetrators are held accountable for their deeds, so am encouraging the victims to report these cases to the police,” he said.
However, GBV-related crimes are persistent issues in South Sudan because it delays or it is underreported owing to fear and stigma worsened by the crisis and may escalate sexual assault, particularly in remote areas.
While according to some Agency reports, some of the survivors contacted indicated that it is hard for them to report to the centers or to disclose to anyone that they were raped since it’s hard to go out in public after being raped.
A few years back, Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Ayaa Benjamin Warrile pushed the parliament to pass a bill to fight GBV.
She said the bill will help reform, consolidate and harmonize laws and provisions related to GBV.
Late in 2020, the South Sudanese government, in partnership with UN agencies, set up a special court to handle GBV cases.
An Agency visited the GBV Court in Juba and found out that over 100 cases were being tried, with the court officer still filling out paperwork to determine the exact number of trials since the court’s inception in 2020, though UNMISS reported 64 victims of sexual violence in 2021.
The cases involve physical assault, defilement, and rape against women and girls.