Source: UN News Last year, peace was restored to Chad after several years of armed conflict and the country promises a better future for all. But young girls remain vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence from forced marriages, rape, polygamy and genital mutilation. A brave mother, Hadjara Oumarou, defies tradition and brings her estranged husband OumarSidik to the village courthouse. He sold their ten-year-old daughter for an equivalent amount of (USD) $120 dollars.
He spent the money and the purchaser is demanding his bride. Hadjara refuses to give up her daughter insisting she attends school before she marries.
In the same southern region of Tandjilé a shocking number of young girls were raped over Rosalie Narhodyi is outraged.
SOUNDBITE (French) Rosalie Narhodyi- Activist, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE): “The situation is serious, especially in our region. There were cases of rape. There are more than 25 cases and these young girls are between the ages of nine and 15 years. The situation is serious, so we need to react. So we decided to create awareness across the district to say no rape in Tandjile.”
With the support of UNICEF and the Forum for African Women Educationalists, Rosalie Narhodyi rallied hundreds of women and girls from surrounding villages to take a stand against sexual and gender based violence, demanding protection and justice.
SOUNDBITE (French) Rosalie Narhodyi- Activist, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE): “Since we marched there are people who come and say “why did you do this, because politically it’s not good. They don’t see it (rape) as a crime but as an act of indecency instead. We want just to be done. We want an end to this.”
SOUNDBITE (French) Ndoidjim Boidi, Prosecutor, Lai District: “Rape is a crime. The punishment under article 275 in our penal code is to work in perpetuity. You go to prison and don’t come out. Families must look after their daughters and teach them not to go out at night. Ninety-five percent of all the cases are at night.”
SOUNDBITE (French) Micheline Tchangle Talita-KumRehabilitation Center, Lai : “For me, a man who does that to a little girl it’s a crime. It’s killing the girl and for death there should be a penalty. Prison is not enough.”
Micheline runs a rehabilitation centre in Lai and tell us a story of a little girl who after losing her mother was taken to live with her aunt in the next village. She was brutally raped by her uncle and left unable to walk.
SOUNDBITE (French) Micheline Tchangle Talita-KumRehabilitation Center, Lai : “She’s just a little girl, 11 years old. She was taken by a man at night, he slept with her, he raped her. She couldn’t walk. They took her to the hospital too late. They waited one or two months.”
Sexual and gender-based violence needs to be challenged. Empowering women is an important factor towards consolidating peace in Chad.
Hope lies in women like Rosalie, Micheline and Hadjira who themselves need support, as they actively challenge the violence and abuse of women in their own communities.
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