Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Victims of sexual violence against women in Somalia deserve justice

by Ali Mohamed
Thursday, December 28, 2017

Faiza Mohamed Abdi

Last October, a member of the Puntland security forces shot Faiza Mohamed Abdi,16, in the “pelvic area” after she refused his sexual advances in the port town of Bosaso, according to Somali websites.

Faiza has been receiving medical care at Turkish run Erdogan hospital, formerly “Digfeer” hospital, in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. But the local doctors can’t perform the specialized reconstruction surgery required because of the severity of the injuries she suffered in the “pelvic area”, which has a lot of arteries and vital organs such as the bladder, rectum and reproductive organs. 

Fortunately, last week, the girl has been flown to Turkey for further medical care. Thanks to the young and energetic Mogadishu mayor, Mr. Thabit, who sponsored her trip, including her parents. This is good news, and I hope and pray that everything goes well for her medical care and quick recovery.

It was remarkable for Thabit, who is fighting to keep Mogadishu safe, to get time and effort to help Faiza and her family. Last month, he also helped a child who is suffering from congenital heart disease to get medical treatment in Turkey.

Since the heinous crime against Faiza took place in Bosaso and the perpetrator was a Puntland police officer, I have written to Puntland authorities, including the Minister of Heath and Minister of Women Development and Family Affairs, to find out more about the facts surrounding this tragic incident.

Although I did not receive any response from them, I asked Puntland authorities three questions:

Why haven't Puntland authority taken the lead in assisting the medical care of the rape victim and  her family? Second, why has Puntland President, Dr Abdiweli Ali, failed to reach out to the family or pay a visit to give comfort to the girl while she was still in Mogadishu hospital?

I believe his visit or phone call would have shown that he cares about rape victims and is opposed to sexual violence against women and girls.

Some people are alleging that the officer had received assistance from some members of the Puntland police to avoid arrest and to escape to Kismayu, southern Somalia, because of clannism.

Up to now, why have not the perpetrator of the crime and those who aided his escape face justice?

I wish I would not have to cover this tragic story, but someone has to write about the perpetual violence against our women and girls. It is taking place in our households, villages, towns, cities, and work places.

We must not condone or tolerate violence against our women and girls. We should not harbor or give aid to those who perpetrate these heinous crimes. We should take a personal pledge in the name of our creator not to allow violence against women and girls. And we should be the protectors of our mothers, sisters, daughters and nieces because they face violence on a daily basis.

Somali men, we should not be complicit or silent about violence against women and girls. For example, Faiza could have been your daughter, granddaughter or sister. We must take action against violence against women and girls. We must also hold accountable law enforcement officials and politicians to save more victims from sexual violence.

Somali women and girls, if they say no it means no, period. And, we must not take advantage of their economic disadvantage or those from marginalized communities.

Furthermore, Puntland authorities have a responsibility to bring justice to the officer who shot Faiza in a vital part of her body “pelvic area”. This officer is a thug who does not deserve to run from the law.

But, So far, the officer has not been charged any crime or arraigned in a court. Faiza and her family are worried about whether they will ever get a fair trial from Puntland’s underfunded and broken court system.

A lesson from the sexual violence against Faiza: leadership matters.

Mogadishu mayor’s efforts in helping victims of violence against women and girls show leadership. Because of his involvement, although it will take years, Faiza has a better chance of recovering from that ordeal in Bosaso. And, I want to thank Thabit for his efforts.

Finally, the Somali and international communities are expecting from Puntland leadership to take action against violence against women and girls and to hold the offender of the heinous crime accountable and deliver justice to Faiza and her family.

While in her hospital bed in Turkey, Faiza said, “All I want from the Puntland administration is justice.”

Ali Mohamed is the Founder and Editor Gubanmedia.com. He can be reached at [email protected]


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