The Government must ensure Justice ASAP!
By Madi Jobarteh
Here is another reported rape case that the Gambia Police Force said they have confirmed and completed investigations. It is however amazing how quickly they concluded this investigation on this rape case while earlier rape cases remain!
Given that this is a case that involves a foreign diplomat and we know that the 1961 Vienna Convention protects diplomats from any form of arrest or detention unless their home government waives their immunity, I wish to therefore call on the Gambia Government to immediately seek a waiver from the Senegalese Government to arrest ad detain this alleged perpetrator. Rape is an unbailable offence in the Gambia hence this man should be arrested and detained and charged since the Police have confirmed that they have completed their investigations.
Failure to take prompt action means this alleged perpetrator could use his diplomatic immunity to travel out of the Gambia immediately. If that happens it would constitute a gross negligence on the part of the Gambia Government hence a clear violation of the right and dignity of the victim who is a young Gambian minor. This man did not only rape a woman but he raped a girl-child for that matter who is below the age of consent. That is double serious!
Sexual violence must be confronted head on. No man worthy of his name should rape any woman or girl for any reason under any circumstances. But we cannot combat rape and sexual violence as a whole when the police and courts do not act with urgency, commitment and passion to tackle rape.
What research has shown from around the world is that usually rape victims do not get justice and perpetrators go scot-free simply because, in the first place the police and courts do not do due diligence in pursuing rape cases. The police and courts sometimes entertain the same chauvinistic and patriarchal narratives that seek to doubt, deny and ridicule rape victims and their stories. Sometimes police and courts accept brides and threats from rapists to bury or delay the case. For that matter many rape victims are forced to withdraw because of the public rebuke and professional malfeasance.
Consequently, victims get discouraged because the general public refuse to stand with them but rather seek to aid and abet the rapist on the stupid narrative of ‘due process and presumption of innocence’. But those who call for ‘due process and presumption of innocence’ would not put any pressure on the law enforcement and justice delivery institutions to make them urgently and diligently fulfill their obligations to apply the rule of law! Does that not therefore tantamount to aiding and beating rape?
You call for due process in the first place yet there is no due process but you refuse to demand due process and meantime the victim is crying yet you call yourself a man who believes in the rule of law? Hypocrisy!
This is why when you want to know the quality and level of the conscience and values of a people of a particular society look at how they respond to crimes against women and girls. When they waiver, rationalize, stand on the fence and doubt in favour of the criminal against the woman it is clear that these people are nothing other than apologists, aiders and abettors for rape and sexual violence against women.
Strong and dignified men stand with women and girls! They don’t rape neither do they stand with rapists!