Fatou Jallow

Gambian anti-rape activist and survivor

Sub-Saharan Africa

Fatou “Toufah” Jallow is a former beauty pageant queen, sexual assault survivor, and women’s rights and anti-rape activist from The Gambia. Jallow was 18 years old when she won a beauty pageant sponsored by Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh with the promise of a scholarship to continue her studies. However, the dictator took advantage of the proximity he gained through the pageant to rape her. She fled into exile to escape the grip of Jammeh but rather than hide in shame and behind anonymity, she decided to “take back that power.” In June 2019, she was the first person to publicly accuse the now-exiled former dictator of sexual assault, breaking the culture of silence around sexual violence in her country, and inspiring the #IamToufah movement, which has been called Gambia’s #MeToo. She founded the Toufah Foundation to create a safer environment and psycho-social support for sexual violence survivors, and advocate for accountability and reforms.

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