SIERRA LEONE: Musu: “The local chief says the man is always right”

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

At age 16 Musu was forced to marry a man twice her age. Seven years later, she has three children she can barely feed and scars from regular beatings by her husband.

She would often go to her parents’ home after “the quarrels”, but they only persuaded her to return to her husband. About six months ago she fled to the capital, Freetown.

“They forced me to marry this man. I did not want this man.

“He would take alcohol and he was beating me every day, forcing me to give sex every day. Sometimes he beat me with his hands, sometimes with a cane made of wood.

"The children [ages two, three and six] sometimes see the beatings, but they are too young to understand and know.

“The man wants me to give more children. He says, ‘I will beat you – you don’t want to have sex, you don’t want to have another child.’ Sometimes he beats me on my face. He accuses me of having another man.

“But I don’t want another child. Even the three children I have, to raise them is very difficult. My man is not working.

“The six-year-old child has never been to school because there is no money. The money I make selling vegetables in the market is barely enough for our food.

“I reported [the beatings] to the local chief, but he does nothing. Whenever you talk to the chief he will say, ‘the man is always right’. That’s the custom.

“I will just accept it. It’s not correct but I don’t have anything to do. It’s unfair.

“I don’t go to the police because I don’t have any money. If you go to the police they ask for money.

"I ran away to the city to start a business. When I came I looked for the human rights people to tell them my situation.

“Many women face the same situation. But no one is there to help us. The police need to threaten [my husband] so I will be equal.”



Source: IRIN