#JusticeForJennifer must not be allowed to become another empty hashtag

#JusticeForJennifer

If you have followed the news, the you must understand that one of the inevitable outcomes of the restrictions on movement in response to the Coronavirus has been an increase in interpersonal violence. Specifically domestic violence against women, girls and children. Trapped with their families, neighbours or acquaintances and cut off from larger society, women and girls have become more vulnerable to coercion and violence and unable to seek justice. This is what happened to an 18 year old girl, living in Narayi, Kaduna state during its lock down. #JusticeForJennifer is the hashtag that has been rallied to raise awareness for the plight of this girl and force the government and relevant authorities to deal decisively with her situation.

 

The teenager is alleged to have been violently raped by 5 boys, two of whom have been apprehended by community policing. The remaining three boys are currently at large, alleged to be protected by their families who are trying to subvert justice by hiding the boys. This kind of behaviour is very common in Nigeria, where families enable rapists by shielding them from the consequences of their actions and trying to delegitimize the trauma of the victims by casting aspersions to their dignity. Weeks have passed since Jennifer was assaulted, and there are reports that her family has been approached to accept compensation in exchange for silence. We cannot let this happen, because rapists are often repeat offenders, and if these men are not found and punished, other people are put at risk as well. #JusticeForJennifer is an attempt to shame these perpetrators, if the appropriate authorities will not perform their duties.

Hafsat Baba Mohammed, the Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development in Kaduna State has been alerted to the plight of the girl and has promised to personally see to the arrest of the perpetrators.

 

We hope this is a first step that will lead to justice, and if not, we are here to keep up the pressure.

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