Minister decries alarming rate of gang rapes

By Elia Joseph Loful

The Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Ayaa Benjamin Warille says the scale of women gang raped and other forms of Gender Based Violence in the country is alarming and urged the security personnel to protect the women.

South Sudan has recorded a number of gang rapes in the last few months, with the recent one of three men raping an 8 year old girl in Juba.

The case sparked a protest by activists demanding an end to any form of violence against women.

Addressing a joint press conference yesterday and calling for action to end gender based violence impunity and perpetrators to face justice in the country, Minister Ayaa condemned the rapes incidences saying there was no safe place for women and girls.

 “The Scale of the problem is alarming. There is no single day that we do not hear of rape reports, including gang rapes of women, girls and children. There is no safe place for women and girls, not even at home. Women and girls are being targeted everywhere they go,” said Ayaa.

She called on the Ministers of Interior and Justice to ensure that measures are put in place to end sexual gender based violence against women and girls, and perpetrators should be punish accordingly.

She further urged the two ministries to train police in order to protect the women and girls from being sexually abused.

“We strongly condemned these heinous acts of violence against women and girls. These survivors have no means of escape when the space that meant to serve as safe haven at home, becomes a place where maximum violence occurs,” stressed the Minister.

The Minister of Interior, Paul Mayom Akech said any perpetrator who may commit sexual violence would not be left unpunished nobody should be subjected to suffering.

“It is our obligation to ensure that no one goes unpunished. We are all born equal and any person who wants to undermine or deny our fundamental rights to dignity is unacceptable”.

Mayom said traditional practices which are harmful should be abolished, arguing that no individual was born to be used as property of gain.

He added that it was a role of law enforcing Ministries to work hand in hand to bring those involves in committing such crimes in the communities to book.

Maj. Gen. Daniel Justin, the Police Spokesperson said the police  at times do not received most sexual gender based violence cases, saying community members don’t follow up once it happen.

“The big challenge we have is that we have other cases of GBV which are not often reported to us. So we want people in the communities to be making follow up once the case has happened, and not just to leave it on police alone,” said Justin.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative, Dr. Mary Otieno calls on the stakeholders to exert efforts to fight the vice.

“For us this should not be a once activity. I really want us to condemn this acts in the strongest terms possible every time they occurs, our present here today is to send a strong message to the perpetrators that this impunity will not be tolerated at all,” expressed Otieno.

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