Senegal (WRN) — According to the United Nations’ Web site, “35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.” In some countries, the figure is closer to 70%.
In Senegal, a ten-year-old girl was raped and had twins.
World Renew reported another recent story in Senegal. One evening in the Keur Massar neighborhood of Dakar, a young teen girl was sent out to run an errand. A man followed her, grabbed her, and forced her into an abandoned house. When he began removing her clothes to rape her, she cried for help and neighbors came to rescue her. It was a narrow escape.
“Everybody was talking about it,” said Ndeye Maty Diagne, a facilitator for a Youth Action Group sponsored by EELS (the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Senegal), one of World Renew’s local partners. “My mom, Aminata Niane, and I are part of the Adolescent Health Program, and we work against this kind of violence, so we went to see the girl.The man was a well-known member of the community, not a random stranger.
“Her mother welcomed us with open arms and told us the whole story. We suggested that the family write down their story and keep it as proof–in case the man tried to attack the girl again. To this day we have not seen the man again and don’t know where he went.”
In Senegalese culture, young girls have very low status and are often told to just keep quiet when they’re the victims of physical or sexual violence. In this case, the immediate intervention of community members saved the young girl from rape, but changing men’s attitudes and violent behavior toward women and girls requires a long-term commitment.
World Renew is striving to end the abuse. Through training, advocacy, and developing local community leaders like Ndeye and Aminata, World Renew and its partners are working in communities and among religious leaders to raise awareness, change behavior, and help put an end to domestic and sexual violence.
In Dakar, World Renew offers training in basic counseling skills to peer educators in the adolescent health program. The ministry also developed discussion guides for community groups and created a set of guidelines so that people like Aminata and Ndeye have more resources with which to advise girls and their families.
Pray for violence against women to end. Pray also that God’s love will be demonstrated and felt through World Renew.