Hassantu Mohamed Barrie, an FGM Campaigner has explained to this medium that she’s not safe living with her family in Kenema for forceful initiation of her daughters by her opponents.
According Hassanatu Mohamed Barrie she wanted to leave Kenema because whenever she went to sleep her instinct frightened her of her best during her forceful initiation.
“it is possible we will be raided and my daughters will one day initiated whether I like it or not and the pain I went through during my forceful initiation I do not want such painful act to be replicated to them.
Hassanatu Mohamed Barrie and husband story is just one among several stories girls and parents faced in Sierra Leone and this is a major challenge for anti-FGM campaigners and activists in and out of Sierra Leone to see how they can eradicate or help victims that have gone through FGM.
This practice speaks volume of the country’s backward cultural practice and its ancient structures,
sowies still see the practice worthwhile refers to activists as puppets of western powers and money making idiots.
They also see advocacy on the practice as an attack on their culture which have been around for decades. The societies exist in every village and town across Sierra Leone and a vital communications link between politicians and rural communities. This gives them the power to tell women how to vote.
Politicians in Sierra Leone hardly talk about FGM but will engage the practitioners when they need vote. Talking about Bondo in public is a taboo and one can even be summoned and brought to the chief if the person is caught talking about the secret society in the open.
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone in one of their many advocacy drive “upon careful reflection, they said they support the call for our Legislature to speedily enact a law that will clearly ban FGM for under 18s and this has been looked into but not enforced.
The Commission said majority of initiates of FGM are underage girls and banning FGM will reduce the practice of FGM to minimal level or almost non-existent level.
It will be difficult and rare for someone above 18 to willingly subject herself to FGM. In effect, the number of initiates will be drastically reduced; Eastern Region Human Rights Commission Acting Director Mr. Sylvester Sidie Kallon was quoted as saying.
He further said a child initiated might grow up to have clitoris and It is unfair, inhumane, and a violation of the rights of the child and gross human rights abuse to deprive the initiated girl child of the right to select whether or not to have her clitoris removed at the age of 18 years upwards.
A number of countries have abandon harmful traditional practice but the practice is still rampant in Sierra Leone, Mr. Kallon stated making example of the ten underage School girls forcefully initiated at Ngehun Konjo during School period. He said these children were initiated because the Sowies said the children were present when matured women were exchanging invectives languages on them.
Sierra Leone first lady Mrs. Fatima Bio this year launched the ‘Hands of our Girls campaign that discouraged early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and abuse of young girls. But not in any time did the campaign single out FGM which is a leading cause of early marriage and teenage pregnancy in the country.
Over the years, pressure groups that now see the practices as out-dated continued to have setback across the country on the eradication of the practices.
In Baaka village, Kenema district Eastern Region, families including the Barrie who in 2017 lost one of their relatives after the mudslide disaster are threats pro-campaigners.
Alpha Jalloh who flee the country in 2013, but later returned with his daughter and allegedly died by rumours going around supposedly by society women but his younger cousin Mohamed Jan Barrie and Wife Hassanatu Mohamed Barrie with his daughters are still battling with society frustration and their whereabouts is still unknown.
Young girls of the Barrie family most especially the girls remain in constant fear anytime the story of their late sister and cousin is narrated to them.
Hassanatu Mohamed Barrie and husband Mohamed Jan Barrie are always in fear whenever the planting season ends as well as the closure of schools for holiday because of their two daughters and the alleged bad societal omen associated to their family especially when Hassanatu Mohamed Barrie is an activist campaigner against FGM in her district.
She fears members of the Bondo society will come for her husband’s relatives and their two children since she is a strong campaigner in the community.
Some years ago before Mohamed Jan Barrie and Wife, Hassanatu Mohamed Barrie left the country as they have feared of intimidation from pro-campaigner of FGM.
Nobody has ever been prosecuted in Sierra Leone for the death of girls who died during initiation, it has happened in Magburaka, Kenema and even Kailahun District as underage girls died under the knife.
The situation continued to be worrisome as previous and present governments continued to make lip service on by a way of eradicating FGM out of Sierra Leone.
Information reveal by this medium alleged that Mohamed Jan Barrie and wife have been identified by pro-FGM campaigners as people who always say negative things about Female Genital Mutilation.
According to our information, Mohamed Jan Barrie continues to reflect on the demise of his long time cousin during an initiation session and that he too will one day become victim as long as he decides to stay in Baaka town in the Kenema district with his family especially when his wife is a stunt anti-FGM woman Campaigner.