Crime rate has increased in recent weeks over the brutal rape last year of a 5-year-old girl in a town at Sierra Leone. The serious case was never pursued, drawing mass attention to the lingering sense of impunity around sexual violence. The girl was paralyzed from the waist down after her spine was crushed when she was raped, Reuters reported, and her 28-year-old uncle was suspected of the unforgivable crime.
“The 5-year-old girl over the weekend told Magistrate Johannes Wellington of Court 2 that on the afternoon of Tuesday 9th April, at Spur Loop Freetown, she was called upon by Pastor Emmanuel Kelly (the accused) in his room and was subjected to indecent and sexual assault.
“He puts his penis inside my vagina,” she said “No sooner he has done that to me, my stomach started aching and I noticed something coming out of my private part.”
“My mother who always bathes me later observed that somebody has tampered with me.”
The mother in her testimony said at approximately 8:00 pm she took her daughter to the bathroom to clean her up but was shocked to observe that each time she attempted the child was holding her private part and would resist as if feeling serious pain.
She told the court that it was then she discovered that her daughter had been ‘tampered with by someone else.
“I asked her to tell me who did such an act to her but she refused to tell me,” she said. “It was when I threatened kill her that she confessed to me it was Pastor Emmanuel Kelly that did it to her.”
“My husband and I took the child to Lumley Police Station where the complaint was recorded. We were referred to the Cottage Hospital for medical attention which we did.”
Emmanuel Kelly (the accused) who made his second appearance before Magistrate Wellington was charged with abuse of young girl contrary to section 6, indecent assault contrary to section 9 and cruelty to child contrary to section 4(1) of the Prevention and Cruelty to Children’s Act cap of the Laws of Sierra Leone.
The accused was remanded in custody and matter adjourned to 3rd September” till today the accused person is free.
The president’s Statement:
“Seventy percent of survivors of sexual assault are under the age of 15, President Julius Maada Bio said in a speech on Thursday.
Each month, hundreds of cases of rape and sexual assaults are being reported in this country,” Mr. Bio said. “Some of our families practice a culture of silence and indifference toward sexual violence, leaving victims even more traumatized.”
Mr Bio declared the emergency at State House in Freetown after hearing the testimony of an Ebola survivor who had repeatedly been raped.
“With immediate effect, sexual infiltration of juveniles is punishable by life imprisonment,” he said, visibly moved by the survivor’s account.
He also announced the formation of a dedicated police division to investigate reports of sexual violence, as well as a special magistrates’ court that would fast-track cases”.