Gender-Based Violence and Biblical Equality: Case Studies in Sierra Leone -- By: Jo Anne Lyon

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 18:1 (Winter 2004)
Article: Gender-Based Violence and Biblical Equality: Case Studies in Sierra Leone
Author: Jo Anne Lyon


Gender-Based Violence and Biblical Equality:
Case Studies in Sierra Leone

Jo Anne Lyon

Jo Anne Lyon is the executive director and founder of World Hope International. She is an ordained minister and licensed professional counselor.

World Hope International works with amputees in Sierra Leone. According to Lyon, “Amputee is a sanitized word to describe people of all ages, both male and female, who were brutally chopped with machetes by rebel soldiers.”

We stood in the midst of 1,200 internally displaced people living in a makeshift camp of Sierra Leone, all trying desperately to tell their stories. The majority of the people were amputees. This is a sanitized word to describe people of all ages, both male and female, who were brutally chopped with machetes by rebel soldiers. I was in Sierra Leone on an assessment trip with World Hope International and connected with a Washington Post reporter. We traveled together to various parts of the country—he was researching stories while I was doing assessments. We both had heard of the brutalities and both had great compassion for the victims, but the stories became reality as I touched, smelled, listened, and cried with the women, children, and men.

In the midst of the chaos a very slight woman made her way to the front of the crowd. Suddenly the noise ceased as she began talking. “I was out planting my groundnuts,” she stated rather calmly. “The rebels came and grabbed my 5-year-old daughter. I grabbed her back. Then they took my daughter and put her arm on the root of the cotton tree and with a machete they chopped it off. Then they took me and laid my arm on the root of the cotton tree and they chopped it off. We were bleeding,” she said with a bit more emotion. “I had a baby, and I put her on my back; and we went to look for my husband for some rags to stop the bleeding,” she frankly stated. “He bound up our arms and the bleeding stopped.” There she and her 5-year-old daughter stood with no arms below their left elbows.

I was stunned and so was the reporter. He began to ask her more questions, and she willingly cooperated. As we walked back to the car he said, “What are you going to do about this?” I frankly could not see that World Hope International could do anything. This was far beyond what our agency could begin to tackle. The reporter went back to the States, and the story with the picture of Mrs. Kamara and her daughter was on the front page of The Washington Post. The following day The International Herald Tribune ran the story and picture. People began writing to the

reporter, and he sent the responses on to us at World Hope International. A...

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