hen 20-year-old Memunatu Kamara fell pregnant, she wasn’t sure what to do. She knew she wanted to concentrate on her education, but abortion is illegal in Sierra Leone. So she went to see a traditional practitioner who she believed would help her end the pregnancy. She was instructed to drink a sour green concoction. Shortly afterwards, the bleeding began. “I was so scared and was afraid to tell anyone,” she remembers. “I felt so sick … so bad.” When her older sister found her crawling around on the floor bleeding
and in unbearable pain, she took her straight to hospital. They arrived just in time and a safe post-abortion procedure was performed. “It affected me for a whole month,” she says, describing the pain. “I thought I was going to die. There was so much blood, and this baby was in me – dead. I wanted to die.” That was decades ago and Caulkner says she still faces irregular periods which she believes are a side effect of the abortion.
Sexual violence against women