Rape victims Often Forced To Marry Rapists In South Sudan: Reports CEPO

In a report published by the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), a civil society group based in Juba, on rape victims in the country, the victims of rape are often forced to marry the men who rape them.

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole

TORIT, 28 April 2015 [Gurtong] – The CEPO described its research as a 'small-scale survey' carried out as part of its regular     engagement on tracking cases of sexual Gender Based violence.

Blaming the Country’s legal system's weaknesses, the report on the research has revealed that rural families often treat talk of rape as taboo.

“Rape is a forceful manner of winning love. It is this concept in the rural communities that makes rape case to end in marriage,” says part of the released report.

“There is evidence in the media that majority of the families end up facilitating rape case into marriage,” it adds.

For example, CEPO cited a radio report from Yei in 2014 headlined, “Gender officer accuses parents of settling rape cases for money” and another radio report from Torit in 2013 headlined, “Police blames parents for locally settling child sexual crimes.”

Further, in its report, the CEPO has noted that the weak family role in securing evidence and treating rape as taboo, has contributed to weak and delayed investigations of cases by police.
The report has disclosed, one of the prime findings of the research is that the public is not well informed about how to deal with rape cases when they occur.

It says poverty also plays a role as it has made parents to solve rape cases at family level where they often resort to negotiate for dowry and such cases end up in marriage simply the parents of the girls want cash due to poverty.

According to the report, marriages that are connected to occurrence of rape cases always end up as early forced marriages.

The CEPO's Executive Director, Mr. Edmund Yakani has revealed to Gurtong that his organization is planning to conduct training for police officers on sexual gender based violence investigation skills.

Additionally, he elaborated that the CEPO, in consultation with the national ministry of Gender, Child Welfare and Social Development, will open a rape research and data center, in one of the cited locations with high occurrence of rape cases in country.

The center will serve as a national research and data base entity.

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