Women and girls in Sudan are constantly confronted with obstacles imposed by the public order regime that hinder their freedom of movement, their freedom of association, and their ability to make personal choices on a daily basis. As a Sudanese woman, I had always encountered these problems and as such, aspired to become a journalist to speak out for social change.
The public order regime in Sudan consists of laws and practices that allow the imposition of corporal punishment for what is seen as immoral behavior. Notably, Sudan’s Criminal Penal Code of 1991, article 152, which was renamed and incorporated into the Society Safety Code (2009), calls for the punishment of people who perform in public, an “indecent act or an act contrary to public morals or wears an obscene outfit or contrary to public morals or causing an annoyance to public feelings.” Those who violate this law may be subject to flogging not exceeding forty lashes and/or fined. Because the standard for contradicting public morality is subjective and not defined, this article is frequently applied arbitrarily to the detriment of women and girls.
This system disproportionately affects women and girls due to deeply entrenched gender-based discrimination where women and girls can be stopped by police, sent before a judge, and sentenced to a public flogging for nothing more than wearing pants or leaving their hair uncovered.