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Gender in Practice

Culture, Politics and Society in Sierra Leone


John Idriss Lahai

In Sierra Leone, the dominant epistemological framework of the political and social history of the country and the post-colonial understanding of the place of men and women are based on the inter-subjective discourses of power, place, identity and belongingness. Through a complex web of culturally regulated, politically motivated and patriarchally conditioned belief systems on sexualities, a transition is imagined that goes beyond symbolism and familial attributes. Its aesthetics, as this book demonstrates, are deployed as a domain in which the political and cultural understanding of statehood, gender relations, politics, governance, armed conflict, human rights, women’s empowerment and sexual identity are made and remade. In the main, the rudimentary discourses on the everyday individual/collective survival strategies of women have exposed, in expressive forms, the gendered uncertainties in people’s lives. However, in practical terms, as described in this book, these uncertainties are a demonstration of the tensions between culturalism (and its post-colonial discontents) and the gender-ideological narrative concerning the question of gender equality and women’s place in politics, culture and society across time and space in Sierra Leone.
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Chapter 7: The Aftermath: Accountability for Gender-Based Political and Cultural Violence


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The Aftermath: Accountability for Gender-Based Political and Cultural Violence

The Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SLTRC)

Although the Lomé Accord was drafted with little consideration of the need for accountability for wartime gendered and non-gendered violations, it did tie ex-warring factions to their promise to restore the dignity of victims through the truth and reconciliation process. The Truth Commission was charged with investigating and recording various violations from the beginning of the conflict in 1991 to the signing of the Accord in 1999. It was also entrusted with the responsibility to reconcile communities through public apologies that would foster national healing and prevent the repetition of violations, including SGBV suffered by women (SLTRC 2004, Vol. 1, Ch. 1).

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