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From Wronged to Rights: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Freetown, through the lens of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Robinson, Barbara (2020) From Wronged to Rights: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Freetown, through the lens of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Sexual and gender-based violence against girls and young women is an entrenched and widespread problem in Sierra Leone. In this qualitative research, conducted in two Freetown slum communities, girls and young women faced sexual and gender-based violence in both their private and public spheres: in their homes, where girls are burdened with domestic duties and where desperate parents push their daughters into exploitative relationships with older men, transactional sex and prostitution; in their communities, where girls are intimated on the street and where initiation into secret “Bondo” societies through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an accepted part of a girl´s transition to womanhood; in schools, where girls face sexual harassment from their teachers and peers; and finally at an institutional level, where pregnant girls are denied their right to education and their protection in law from FGM. The culture of violence in Freetown communities is amplified by extreme poverty and by discriminatory social and cultural norms. These norms emphasise the inferior status of girls and women while laying down a morality trap: setting expectations that circumstances render impossible to achieve. These forms of sexual and gender-based violence against girls and young women can be identified as violations of their rights under the basic principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989), ratified by Sierra Leone in 1990. The CRC represents a useful lens through which to approach this topic since its framework can be applied effectively to both analysis of the underlying social problems and formulation of the response needed from state, civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). One such NGO project, Defence for Children International-Sierra Leone´s Girl Power programme, is examined in detail in the thesis. Through adopting a human rights framework in its programmes with girls and young women, Girl Power demonstrates how such an approach can be used practically, to identify and address the causes and consequences of sexual and gender-based violence.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: The author can be contacted at barbaracrobinsonATprotonmail.com
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Human Rights Centre
Depositing User: Barbara Robinson
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2020 10:06
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2020 10:06
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26601

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