Meet Shamis Abdi Bile, The Female Police Officer Single-Handedly Fighting Rape In Somalia

Welcome to Puntland: where many men don't consider sexual violence a crime.

In Puntland, northeastern Somalia, people don't take rape seriously.

One young girl was held down by a boy from her neighbourhood - he tore at her clothes while she screamed - but when she tried to report the crime, nobody seemed to care.

Instead, the male officers mocked her, advising her to go home and forget about what happened.

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The young girl won’t give her name, afraid that being labeled a rape survivor in Somalia’s conservative society would ruin her and her family’s reputation.

But 28-year-old Officer Shamis Abdi Bile is doing everything she can to help this young girl - and women just like her who've been in similar, or worse, situations.

She is the only female officer in her unit, and the only woman handling issues of sexual violence in the area.

She’s also furious, and is determined to help.

'I feel driven to help when a woman is being abused,' Bile . 'And do whatever I can do to catch those who are harassing her.'

Rape is so common in Somalia that many don’t even consider it a crime at all. Here, violence against women makes up 30 per cent of reported crimes in the country, according to the United Nations.

But the real number is likely so much higher.

'Some officers say rape is not a big deal,' Bile says. 'They say it has been happening for ages and it’s nothing new.'

These stories occur so frequently that most women make the decision to keep silent rather than face the humiliation and abuse of telling their stories to the police.

Officer Bile leads an astonishing charge for women in the region to take matters into their own hands. She is working to change things for women who have been raped, so that they can finally get the justice they deserve.

'The policemen like to defend the men, just as I like to protect the women's rights,' Bile says with a cheeky smile.

As part of our 'The Warriors' project, and spent time deep-diving into what her life is like fighting for women.

You can read the full feature , or watch the video which follows Bile at her work, interviews the women she helps and speaks to her feminist husband (he stays at home and cooks).

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