Opinion by Tearz Ayuen
Apparently, the anti-sexual assault campaign some South Sudanese girls in Australia, US and Canada carried out online recently appears to be true, given the number of cases the Gender-Based Violence and Juvenile Court in Juba is handling.
As per the testimonies posted online, most survivors were sexually attacked at a very tender age. They were little girls whose parents entrusted familial friends, neighbors and distant relatives with looking after them while they worked. But the babysitters ended up molesting the kids, repeatedly. Again, and again and again.
Generally, sexual and gender-based violence affects the survivors physically and mentally. Not to mention the obvious physical effects, studies say it causes serious mental issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts and disassociation.
As a journo, I have come across rape and defilement cases involving senior government officials and soldiers. However, some lawsuits have died down, either because the “big men” threatened the survivors’ families with death or the accused simply dishonored court orders, with impunity.
Observationally, these crimes have been prevalent in the society, but largely remained unreported until recently when some of the abused began to open up.
So, it looks like there are rapists, defilers and pedophiles everywhere in the country. Most pedophiles reportedly prey on relatives’ and neighbors’ kids.
In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity, said Albert Einstein. South Sudan media reports suggest that the survivors choose to keep mum for fear of stigmatization, reprisal, and police dubiety of their narratives. Police sometimes feel the girl or woman is lying.
But in order to uproot this evil, survivors should grab the opportunity for the sake of their fellow females. They should come out to name and shame the perps. Since nobody enjoys being shamed, naming names, coupled with sentencing and imprisonments, could discourage those who may intend to commit the same crime.
Sexual offenders get addicted to the crime, according to psychologists. And they will always keep preying on women and girls. So many preys. And thus, the sooner they are identified, named and brought to book, the safer it is for our sisters and daughters.
Remember, a rapist or molester could be the dude you drink with. He could be your workmate. Your lecturer. Your cousin. Your MP. Flush them out, girls.