Sexual violence and rape are now a national emergency in Sierra Leone. President Julius Maada Bio declared it so last month. He set up an ambitious series of measures to address the issue in the west African country, such as free hospital care to victims, special police and court divisions, life imprisonment for perpetrators of rape against minors, and a phone hotline.
In this short piece for The Globe Post, Caitlin Ryan and I argue that while this move has brought renewed attention to the issue, the attention derived from an emergency declaration is not only ineffective in stopping the violence but depoliticizes it by separating the violence from the broader structural power relations that make sexual violence and rape possible in the first place.
Read the piece here.