As if to say when India sneezes Cameroon catches the cold, rape incidents in Cameroon have witnessed an upward trend of late. This unfortunate urge of men to quench their sexual desires whether or not their partner approves of it is not only disturbing but need urgent action. Violence against women and girls has continue to stare Cameroonians directly in the face. The efforts of governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations operating in Cameroon seems not be yielding as expected. The hashtag “stop rape” is all over various social media platforms. Though this may be a good starting point, many are of the opinion that hashtags don’t solve problems. This suggests that we need more of action than “hashtags”.
A 17-year old girl whose name we got is Minette Fotsing died in the early hours of Wednesday 30th of September as a result of rape. At a clinic Unit in the Bapeanda district in Douala the economic capital of Cameroon. It was confirmed through examinations carried out by doctors that, the victim had vagina discharge, vulvar secretions, dehydration, which all suggests sexual activity. The young girl who was found near a construction site not far from their family home in an area called Logpom, was weakened and struggling at the time she was found. The deceased is said to have moved from the West Region of Cameroon to continue her studies in Douala upon being admitted to study her BEPC.
Earlier this year, a class six teacher identified as Kevin Buma allegedly raped 18 of his pupils whose ages range from 10 to 14. After he was arrested he confessed to this heinous crime and to his defense, claimed to have been influenced by evil spirits. The class six teacher himself is a father of three but yet the shame of doing something so despicable did not cross his mind or maybe we should say it was the “work of the devil”. Similarly, in May this year, a police inspector whose name we got as Jean Yves Asso was accused of raping an 18-year-old pregnant girl. According to a complaint filed by the father of the victim Messado Joyce, police inspector picked up his daughter on Saturday May 16 in the evening in Bandjoun, West Region of Cameron with the motive that she was not in possession of her identity card. The complaint further reads that the police inspector took the girl to a neighboring town and raped her despite the plea of her friends and his colleagues.
A man still in the West region of Cameroon was raped his own daughter to death. According to a report by LTM TV, the man had earlier accused her daughter of stealing 200frs from. The following day after this accusation, the said man had already raped his daughter to death.
Women / Girls breaking the silence
The recent rape incidents in the country have sparked debates and is the major headline of talk- shows and on the lips of every woman and girl child especially after Cameroon’s musician Daphne Njie broke the silence and revealed what happened to her while she was still young. The singer revealed the trauma she went through because of rape and how it changed her life and perspective of things around her.
Marouja Natou a 21 years old girl was the guest of Equinoxe TV program Regard Social. while at the show she made shocking revelations about her life. According to her, she was sold off by her father to a man and only knew about it when she was taken by her father to him in the pretext that, she was going to meet her uncle in Douala to continue her studies. She further explains that, her husband only sleeps with her when she is on her period and if she is not he cuts her with a blade so that blood will flow. The young girl laments that, her husband had sex with her from the back not minding whether or not she is sleeping, or if she is in the mood or not. The mother of three finally built courage after 8 years of bondage to leave the house. Her situation was made worst by her co-wife who forced her to bed with the husband telling her that she herself went through the same ordeal.
Rape and indecent dressing
Needless to say that India that is noted for decent dressing has one of the highest if not the highest rape cases in the world. Most Cameroonians (as if to say they are justifying rape) have collaborated rape to how indecent the victim dressed before the rape incident. The upsurge of rape cases in Cameroon goes beyond just dressing. OCHA Northwest and Southwest situation report of July says GBV cases have increased in these regions, 42 of the cases being rape and sexual assault. This suggests insecurity in this region, not indecent dressing is the reason for this unfortunate upsurge.
Rape attacks in the streets of major cities can be attributed to the level of insecurity in the country. Most police and other elements of the military have been deployed to the Northwest and Southwest regions to combat Saparatist fighters and also the Far North and East regions which are faced with Boko Haram attacks and attacks from the rebels in the Central African Republic respectively. The towns considered safe are becoming prone to sexual violence, with the victims and survivors of this horror basically left alone because there is virtually no officer to run to. And in the case where a victim screams there is no one who listens.
CAWI joins her voice in condemning this seemingly new normal, and will continue to rally relevant stakeholders to fight against the ill.