Women protest rape, violence, and sexual harassment in Darfur

Yesterday, the Sudanese Women’s Revolution Initiative held a vigil in front of the Ministry of Justice in Khartoum to protest against rape, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women. Another vigil was held against gender-based violence (GBV) in front of the El Fasher Court in North Darfur.

They handed a memorandum to the Ministry of Justice to call for the amendment of the 1991 Criminal Law on harassment and rape. They describe the current laws and penalties as too unclear.

Rayan Mohamed, one of the initiative's founders, pointed at the increase in incidents of violence against women and the rape of young girls and boys. She explained that women are victims of various types of crimes but are often unable to file a report out of fear for public shaming.

She also said that a young woman was molested and raped on New Year's Eve by a group of about 20 men on Nile Street in Khartoum.

The initiative also protested the continuing attacks of women in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur.

In cooperation with the Kafa Women Association, the initiative organised a vigil in front of the El Fasher Court. The protestors carried banners calling for “an immediate end to violence against women in all parts of Sudan and in Darfur in particular”.

Protestor Ruaa Saleh told reporters in El Fasher that the vigil is a protest against the continuing violence against women. She pointed to the recent killing of a young woman in Um Kedada, the rape of a girl in eastern Sudan’s El Gedaref, and the gang-rape of a young woman in Khartoum on New Year’s Eve.

She also called for legal reforms.

Yesterday, Radio Dabanga reported on the rape of a 9-year-old girl in Deribat in East Jebel Locality, South Darfur. The girl was raped by a member of the South Darfur Military Intelligence.

The director of the Violence Against Women Unit in South Darfur, Selma John, said that the rapist has been arrested by Military Intelligence. She demanded that the authorities “impose the most severe penalty on the perpetrator, so that it will be a lesson for others”.

The child has been transferred to Nyala in serious conditions to receive medical and psychological care.

Last year, the Women’s Revolution Initiative also organised a vigil in front of the Ministry of Justice against sexual violence and to demand legal reforms. The vigil was organised in collaboration with the No to Women’s Oppression Initiative and Sudanese Women.

They demanded the inclusion of the term ‘sexual harassment’ in the law with detailed definitions, including harassment by touch, verbal harassment, stalking, tracking, phone calls, and other aggressions.

They also called for increased sentences for offenders “to reflect the harmful and lasting effects on the victims”.

Source: Radio Dabanga

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