Sierra Leone’s First Lady, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, has graciously welcomed several first ladies and other distinguished women of substance from across the world into Sierra Leone for the solemn commemoration of the UN World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Sexual Exploitation, Violence, and Abuse on November 18.
In a diplomatic and heartfelt gesture, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio extended warm welcome to the distinguished personalities while recognising their shared commitment to addressing the critical issues surrounding sexual exploitation, violence and abuse.
The visit is set against the backdrop of UN World Day, emphasising the global significance of the occasion. The distinguished presence of the first ladies add a diplomatic dimension to Sierra Leone’s observance, reinforcing the collaborative spirit in addressing these pressing concerns.
The United Nations declares November 18 “World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Violence”
Brisa de Angulo, a member of SAGE, the Brave Movement’s survivor board, lawyer, child psychologist, human right activist and human rights defender said: “As a survivor of child sexual violence, this is a very important day for me. For many years, survivors have walked silently with the shame and the blame for what happened to us. To have a day that recognises that what happened to you is wrong and that we’re finally going to start doing something about it, start talking about it, and not hide it — is extremely important.
“I come here in the name of the Brave Movement, a network of global survivors looking to make changes; and A Breeze of Hope Foundation where we work on prevention, healing, and justice. The creation of this international day is a groundbreaking milestone in increasing global awareness of the horrific prevalence of sexual violence against children and mobilising action to prevent violence and support healing and justice for survivors.
“Today, the United Nations has established 18 November, as an official World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Violence. The data is staggering: Around 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 9 boys across the globe experience sexual violence before their eighteenth birthday.
“However, we know that violence is preventable, and change is possible. Decades of research shows there are proven, effective solutions that can keep sexual violence from occurring and policies and programs that make sure survivors can access healing and justice. The establishment of a global day increases understanding and recognition of the devastating issue of sexual violence and will mobilise action to create transformational change.
“Together, we can — and must — create a safer world for future generations. Together for Girls and the Brave Movement to End Childhood Sexual Violence recognise the leadership of the Government of the Sierra Leone and the Government of Nigeria in facilitating the resolution to establish the official United Nations observance.