Letter to The Minister for Women's Empowerment and the Family on the Consequences of Dress Code Policy
H.E. The Minister for Women’s Empowerment and the Family,
Prof. Marie Thérèse
Dear madam Minister,
A Humble Request for your Institution to Rescind the Dress Code Policy and Policing
I am writing on behalf of the organization, Women For A Change, Cameroon (WFAC); a young women human rights network, working for the promotion and protection of women and girls human and sexual rights. The Association has over 50 members from diverse socio-cultural background.
As young women human rights activists, and ardent civil society participants, we are deeply concerned with the safety and security of young women and girls in our nation, with the imposition of a dress code policing.
Madam Minister, it is worth noting that since your November 19, 2013 Press Conference, our association, has continued to record series of degrading and inhumane forms of abuses and harassment on girls and women by police forces in guise of applying dress code policy. As such, many women and girls, no longer feel safe in public, or comfortable in their wear, as police and other security agents continue to strip and sexually harass them.
There have been instances where girls have their clothes torn in public, with scissors, razor blades and other sharp objects. We have also witnessed situations where girls have been asked to kneel on pavements, rob themselves in mud or sit in the dust – all as punishment meted by police officers on girls and women for dressing “inappropriately”. Cases of extortion have also been recorded with sums of up to 10.000cfaf and above requested from victims.
Madam Minister, I understand that as a mother as well as a woman advocate, your intentions always is to ensure that the women and girls of this beloved country live a fulfilling and respectable life at all time. Sadly though, this time around, your good intentions for a better wellbeing of the women in this country are being wrongfully understood and misinterpreted by the same people who have been entrusted with the security, safety and protection of these girls.
Recognizing the fact that the section 263 of the penal code doesn’t in clear terms states what a decent dressing looks like, it is no doubt that enforcement officers use their discretions and make their own rules as they go along. This unfortunate situation however has attracted the eyes of the world on our country in negative ways.
Considering the negative fallouts of this attempt to protect women from violence that has instead exposed many women and girls to risk, street harassment, sexual exploitation and several forms of human rights abuses, we plead with you to kindly rescind the dress code policy and policing.
Accept, madam, my best regards,
Women For A Change, Cameroon (WFAC)
This is an on going Campaign, operating both online and offline. It began since the imposition of the dress code policing. It's headed by WFAC. Online, victims stories are captured and shared under the harsh tags:#endpolicestreetharassment #dresscode policing #Cameroon or blog : http://zofem.blogspot.com
Dear Sister,s and brothers of WP, you can show solidarity to our efforts to End Dress Code Policy and Policing by
- signing the petition to ASK:Cameroon Government to Repeal The Dress Code Law Now
-spread the Campaign message and ask friends and families to raise noise about the campaign