Protests in Senegal Call for #JusticePourLouise and an End to Impunity

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Protests in Senegal Call for #JusticePourLouise and an End to Impunity

Protests across Senegal call for #JusticePourLouise and an end to impunity. The case revolves around the rape of a 15-year-old girl by a 19-year-old man who is the son of a famous journalist, Cheikh Yérim Seck. 

The victim and her attacker are both students at the French high school in Saly, on the Petite Côte, south of Dakar. The 19-year-old has been arrested by police and officially accused of raping a 15-year-old girl, the case gathered national attention after the attacker shared a video of the rape via WhatsApp and elsewhere.

 The widespread media coverage has included both denunciation of the rape and the accused, as well as attempts to discredit the survivor and her story. Cases like Louise’s are only the tip of the iceberg: girls are subjected to abuse, by teachers and their peers, on a regular basis in Senegal. The public is made aware of only a fraction of all cases. Victims are discouraged from coming forward about abuses or rape due to communal courage taboos and are forced to cope with the stigma and social isolation.    

In 2018, Human Rights Watch reported that Senegalese girls face high levels of rape, sexual assault, and violence, including sexual exploitation, harassment, and abuse by teachers and school officials. Additionally, male students raped and sexually abused their classmates. The majority of these cases go unreported, and the perpetrators rarely face justice. Despite the growing scale of school-related sexual violence, the government has not yet acknowledged it. It has also not moved swiftly enough to tackle school-related sexual violence in all its forms. #JusticePourLouise calls on Senegal's government to end impunity for sexual violence and violence against women and girls.

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