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Sierra Leone pushes “Get hands off our girls” agenda in ECOWAS Parliament

Sierra Leone is pushing other ECOWAS countries to start a campaign dubbed “Get hands off our girls” to deal with sexual harassment against girls to create a better future for them. 

Veronica K. Sesay, leader of the Women caucus in her National Assembly back home, presenting the country’s report at the ECOWAS Parliament urged her colleagues to push this agenda home in their various countries.

“We are talking about our girl-child, we should take this message to our communities and stakeholders who want to compromise our girls. The message should go to lecturers and teachers who give free marks to these girls”.

She further pointed out to her male colleague lawmakers to circulate this information and it should be started from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament.

“So that we can have more women in this Parliament. Here in this Parliament and back in our countries it is male dominated, if you get your hands off these girls, they would be strong and more vibrant; please pass on this information for us. Let your people leave the girls to be, so that boys would be boys, girls would be girls, men would be fathers and of course mothers would be mothers”.

This drew strong approval from his colleagues on the floor of the House, with some clapping acknowledging whiles most of her male colleagues who touched on her country’s report during question time made reference to the “Get hands off our girls” campaign.

Leader of the Women’s caucus in the country report noted that in responses to the rampant cases of rape and violence against women in her country, the first lady, Fatima Bio embarked on a district level “hands off our girls” campaign which seeks to end sexual and gender based girls’ violence with emphasis on rape.

Also the sexual offenses Act 2012 was amended on September 19, this year. The Act sets the age of consent at eighteen, whiles the new law criminalizes sexual harassment and marital rape. It also increases the maximum penalty for rape and sexual penetration of a child from fifteen to life imprisonment.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

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