Senegal now has a new law that criminalizes rape and paedophilia, a move that is meant to fight all forms of violence against women.
Passing such a law became critical after women’s rights organizations launched series of protests over the surge in sexual assaults in the country.
Before the end of 2019, Senegal’s National Assembly passed the new law that makes room for perpetrators of rape and paedophilia to be jailed up to life.
Prior to this new law rape was considered in Senegal as a simple offense, punishable by five to ten years in prison.
According to Senegal’s Ministry of Justice between 2017 and 2018, 706 women and girls were victims of sexual abuse leading to death.
In 2019 alone 14 women were killed after being raped.
The deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed said Senegal’s move “gets the world closer to ending all forms of gender-based violence.”
— Amina J Mohammed (@AminaJMohammed) January 12, 2020
In many African countries women continue to suffer various forms of sexual abuse without protection.
Countries that do have laws on sexual violence are slow to deliver justice to victims.
The stigma and threats these victims face deter them from even reporting cases.