Popular News Anchor, Isha Sesay and formerly of the New York-based Cable Network News (CNN) together with Hollywood celebrity, Idris Elba has joined hands with the Asmaa James Foundation and Purposeful Production to launch the SGBV Survivor Solidarity Fund. The duo is of Sierra Leonean descent with British Citizenship.
The Fund is a mobilization platform by Sierra Leoneans committed to tackling the culture of rape, early marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, and gender-based violence. “We will no longer wait for others to fund our collective future. Through the Survivor Solidarity Fund, we are mobilising resources from Sierra Leone and for Sierra Leone. Together, we will end rape and all forms of sexual violence in our lifetime,” Asmaa James wrote on her Facebook page after the launch of the project.
The Fund has already attracted over One Thousand Dollars slated for distribution amongst key collaborating organisations, including LAWYERS and the Aberdeen Women’s Centre.
The Survivor Solidarity Fund is set up as a result of the several cases of rape against minors in the country. The most recent happened in June this year against a 5-year-old girl. To stem the occurrence, government has amended the Sexual Offences Act of 2012 to include life imprisonment for raping minors. In addition, President Bio has recently commissioned a One Stop Centre to expedite cases of rape. This means that victims of rape no longer need to go to the police but rather go straight to the hospital where the matter will be taken up.
According to Rainbow Initiative, one of the local partners in the project and the centre that provides free test and medical service to victims of rape, there were about 3,701 cases of sexual assault, 3,897 cases of gender-based violence and 196 cases of physical assault reported in 2019.