Source: allAfrica                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The United States Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Deborah Malac, is calling on the Government of Liberia to prosecute perpetrators of sexual base violence in the country. Ambassador Malac said perpetrators should not go with impunity, but be made to face the law to curtail the wave of violence against women and young girls here.

She spoke Wednesday, 23 July at the official launch of the safe cities for women campaign by Action Aid Liberia in partnership with the Mano River Union Youth Parliament held on the main campus of the University of Liberia on Capitol Hill, Monrovia.

"I don't really think that sexual abuse and cases of violence against women should continue to be settled out of court; this is wrong and needs to stop. Those who sexually abuse women and girls deserve formal punishment by the government", Ambassador Malac emphasized.

She said the Government of Liberia has done well in recent years, by creating greater awareness, more diligently prosecuting criminals who commit sex crimes, and working over the long term to change behaviors that encourage perpetrators of these crimes.

"Having said that", she notes, "huge challenges remain. Perpetrators of sexual and gender based violence continue to walk free in rural parts of Liberia because of inadequate police presence, insufficient judicial capacity, and, in some cases, interventions by traditional chiefs and elders who often push families to settle cases outside the formal justice system."

Ambassador Malac also noted that women face tremendous challenges on school and university campuses, adding that "They face difficult choices where teachers and lecturers continue to take advantage of them simply because they are women. No female university student should continue to face harassment from university authorities, lecturers and male students."

She urged female students to stand up to today and reject advances at them and promptly report cases of gender base violence, saying, "Don't be silent and allow people to take advantage of you because you are a female."

The US envoy pointed out that Liberia is not alone in having to deal with problem of gender-base violence as it remains a pervasive problem in other African countries, and around the world, stressing a need for a collective fight against sexual abuse and gender-base violence until women and girls are free from "this scourge that has become a very serious problem to our women and young girls."

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