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CHAD - WOMEN ACTIVISTS AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
By Cheryl Uys-Allie
They were at the courthouse because Mr. Sidik had sold Amira for the equivalent of $120. When the man who ‘bought’ her visited Ms. Oumarou to demand his bride, she refused to give her up, insisting that she attend school before she marries.
In the same district, a shocking number of young girls have been raped.
“These young girls are between the ages of 9 and 15,” said Rosalie Narhodji, an activist with the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE). “The situation is serious, so we needed to react. We decided to create awareness across the district to say ‘no’ rape in Tandjilé.”
© UNICEF video
Sexual- and gender-based violence needs to be challenged by
empowering women, an important factor in consolidating peace in
Realizing women’s rights
A UNICEF delegation met with Ms. Narhodji and other FAWE activists in Tandjilé earlier this year, advocating for the authorities and community members to take a stand against sexual and gender-based violence. In April, FAWE rallied hundreds of women and girls from surrounding villages to march to the district Governor’s office and demand protection and justice.
“Until now, there has been no justice,” said Ms. Narhodji. “They don’t see [rape] as a crime but as an act of indecency, instead.”
Ndoidjim Boidi, the district prosecutor for Lai,
pointed out that “rape is a crime. The punishment under article 275 in our
penal code is to work in perpetuity. You go to prison and you stay there.” But
activists say that perpetrators are not consistently pursued in court.
Micheline Tchangle is a single mother in her early forties who dedicates her time to running a rehabilitation centre in Lai called ‘Talita-Kum’ – which means ‘get up and walk.’ She shared the story of a little girl, Aline (not her real name), who was so brutally raped by her uncle that she is now forced to use crutches.
© UNICEF video
According to Ms. Tchangle, Aline was taken to live
with her aunt and uncle in a neighbouring village after her mother died, and
this is where the attack that changed her life forever took place.
After the assault, Aline was left with a broken pelvis and hip, unable to walk. She was only taken to the hospital two months later, which was far too late.
Ms. Tchangle took Aline in and has taught her to walk again, albeit on crutches. “For me, a man who does that to a little girl … it’s a crime,” she said, shaking her head. “He should go to prison.”
Much contention surrounds certain accepted
“Entrenched practices that infringe on the rights
of girls and women need to be challenged,” said UNICEF Representative in
Empowering women is an important factor in
confronting violence and consolidating peace in