In order to cut the increase in rape cases, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor has urged the UN system in Liberia to use the US$26 million that it has for the fight against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the various communities.
“Let us stop having these indoor meetings amongst ourselves and go out there to meet with students at the various schools, churches, mosques, let us engage the press, engage community leaders so together we can make rape issues in Liberia to be eradicated.”
VP Taylor told LINA in an interview after her speech that the UN has US$26 million to fight SGBV cases in Liberia, adding: “We should begin to engage the communities, churches, schools, and increase awareness from door-to-door. If you put US$26 million in the communities to work, it will help and stop having those indoor meetings that whenever we leave nothing can be done. Let the UN spend the money at the right places.”
She added: “Let them change their budget and put their money where their mouth is.”
The VP warned parents and guardians: “Stop compromising SGBV cases because when a person gets raped, it is no longer a family issue but it is about the state, so compromising rape cases is unacceptable in Liberia.”
According to her, the forum was organized to discuss and create more awareness on rape and also to find solutions to the “alarming rape cases of our women and girls,” adding that, “This situation is heart-breaking.”
She was speaking recently in an interview with the Liberia News Agency after she officially launched the National Colloquium On Sexual and Gender Based Violence Spotlight Initiative at the Monrovia City Hall, under the theme: “Increased awareness on the judicial process (SGBV) in Liberia (Best practices, challenges and lessons learnt) implemented by WE4SELF.
Madam Taylor said that, the issue of SGBV is on the increase so something needs to be done about it now,
“I hope the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice and other relevant institutions will begin to stop encouraging compromising of rape cases,” the VP emphasized.
She further called on women to pay more attention to their children and be able to sense any change in their behavior, adding: “When you observe carefully you will see signs of changes in their behavior and you cannot turn a blind eye to it.”
“Women must stop using their children as instrument of finance, putting them in these situations going out and become earners of food, money and other things. Maybe we need to amend the laws to bring women to book whose children are on the streets so that they can know this is unacceptable in our society,” Madam Taylor stressed.
She pointed out that “the women of Liberia are part of these situations happening to girls. Allowing your child to go in the streets to earn money and food for the family members is wrong, but I think they need to be given proper information at all levels even at the elementary school to understand the reality of life and to understand the sign of sexual abuse and report when it happen.”
The VP added: “Girls children should be able to say no when anyone wants to abuse them so that other people can come in, they should not be in the position to feel that when they report these cases their parents will go against them”
“The fact is those who abuse children firstly are family members,” she said, noting family members like uncles, fathers, step-fathers need to stop doing what they are doing to children,” she said.
Madam Taylor stressed that: “to the police and our Judges in Liberia, we must do more to protect our young girls to ensure that proper evidence is gathered by police officers in a timely manner and also come together to deal with perpetrators of SGBV. We need to bring these people to book.”