By Karifa Kello Thoronka
Ever since independence in 1961, the Sierra Leone government and society have preferred to deny the existence of lesbian and gay. In Sierra Leone, Lesbian activity is illegal with possible life imprisonment as punishment.
The situation that Miniratu Sesay found herself in was really a nightmare, as the humiliation and harassments started on her, when she finally disclosed to her family members that she is a Lesbian and that she prefer to stay without man forever. Speaking with one of the close family member by the name of Kadiatu Fofonah she mentioned that it’s a must for a female child to get married before they can be respected and accepted in the society. Noting that since Miniratu has decided to be a Lesbian the community will continue to humiliate and harassed her.
Therefore, one evening a team of Islamic youth and some Community leaders stormed the house of Miniratu Sesay holding sticks and other offensive weapons to burn her alive. She was lucky not to have been around at the time. The desperate move of the youth was to burn her alive but being that they were unable to see her, they leave a message for her to vacate the community or risk losing her life.
Human Rights Organizations are afraid to speak up because the majority of those who are members of the human rights organization are either Muslim or Christian. Therefore, they are also part of those stigmatizing lesbians and gay.
Miniratu’s case is one among many who are suffering in silence.
This has therefore created serious panic within the country, as Sierra Leone is no longer safe for anyone practicing lesbian or gay. For fear of death, Miniratu Sesay is nowhere to be located whiles the Community Leaders are still searching for her.