Following the Executive high-level meeting convened by H.E. Dr Julius Maada Bio, where the First lady of the republic, H. E. Fatima Maada Bio delivered her report on #HandsOffOurGirls advocacy work and recommendations for dealing with the scourge of Gender based violence on the 14th of July 2020, the executives of the Police Wives association and The Armed Forces Wives Cooperative Society met with First Lady Fatima Maada Bio. The focus of the discussion was the best way to implement a cultural shift when it comes to the rape scourge. The culture of silence and compromise is wide spread; a workable solution must be implemented.
Her Excellency the First Lady emphasised the important role both the Police and the Armed Forces wives play in the society, their input on best ways to protect our children will be based on practical experience since they are on ground. The tragic death of 5-year-old Kadijatu was a rallying call for most organisations, but instead of a case by case approach to rape, our First Lady is working on a holistic solution.
The Police and Armed forces wives were unanimous in stating their willingness to support and work with the First Lady under the Hands Off Our Girls initiative in combating rape. The Armed Forces wives suggested going on a sensitisation tour of military barracks nationwide, this was a welcome idea and they immediately deliberated on the best way to implement it and a workable timeline. The Military barracks have their own unique problems when it comes to rape and prosecuting culprits this is because the military have their own police and most times not subject civilian courts.
The women said they are determined and ready to be the voice. They will fly the flag of #HandsOffOurGirls and make ending the scourge of rape a legacy they leave behind. First Lady emphasised that we have men fighting for the cause, with President Bio championing the fight against rape, but it is important our mothers take an active role in the fight. She emphasised that no longer will it be acceptable for our mothers to be passive onlookers, they must be participants and agents of positive change in this fight. For this to be formalised, First Lady said she will make members of both the Police Wives and Armed Forces Wives cooperative Society champions of Hands Off Our Girls. The women were in agreement that our girls must be protected, so they can be equal partners in development for sustainable development. This issue cuts across political party lines, protecting and educating our children is paramount. The Armed Forces Wives Cooperative Society executives used the opportunity to brief the First Lady on the state of the private school they operate and their health centre and the immediate plans they have in improving them. They are being proactive and committed to improving the lives of the families of the Armed forces.
The President last week set up a multi-sectorial committee to implement practical solutions on curbing the rape scourge, the committee is headed by the President. First Lady Fatima Maada Bio said she will be relentless in her fight to protect our girls, and she is overjoyed other women are officially joining the not only to persecute rapist, but for there to be a positive cultural shift.