Source: The New Dawn

Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has called on the family, community, Liberia National Police, and the Judiciary to desist from encouraging a compromise of rape and sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases across the country, adding that children need protection.

"It's appalling and heartbreaking when I see our women and girls sexually abused ... on a daily basis by some useless men. Our children are raped and murdered in cool blood on a daily basis," Vice President Taylor said Thursday, 2 September 2021 at a two-day National Colloquium on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence spotlight initiative in Monrovia.

"Most of them are even between the ages of three years and the most heartbreaking part about it, these cases are compromise and parents and the judicial system encourage and support these wrongful practices," she added.

The Vice President said parents should ensure that the lives of their children are protected by providing their oversight responsibilities.

She urged parents to keep their eyes on their children and avoid compromising rape and other SGBV cases, adding that if a child is raped, it's no longer a family matter, but it becomes an issue of the state.

"The Justice Ministry along with communities and every other person should step up their games and avoid compromising rape cases. This matter is a national concern because our children are raped and abused on a daily basis by men who have no self-value and principle," VP Taylor noted.

She recommended that parents provide safety for their children by observing behavior changes in them and get them knowledgeable about SGBV.

"Women should stop using their children as an instrument of finance to feed their homes. Using your children as an instrument to feed your homes opens an avenue for them to be sexually exploited. This practice is something that we all have to disengage from," said VP Taylor.

VP Taylor at the same time called for an amendment in the law that will compel parents and other family members to stop compromising rape and SGBV cases across the country and account for the waywardness of their children.

"There should be proper sexual information to know as to what is Sexual Gender-Based Violence. Most SGBV cases start from the homes and how we teach our children concerning it will also help them to report it when they have been tampered with," the Vice President noted.

The two-day National Colloquium on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence was celebrated under the theme: "Increased awareness on the judicial process to prevent and respond to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Liberia."

The program was organized by the Women Empowerment for Self

-Employment (WE4SELF) in collaboration with the Judiciary, Judicial Training Institute, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Gender Children Social Protection, and other civil society actors.

It seeks to provide an opportunity for judicial actors to take the sticks of progress and challenges and exchange views on the effective handling of cases related to SGBV and the application of international human rights standards in the context of sustainable development.

Additionally, the program intends to strengthen coordination, build networks and formulate draft policy and recommendations that will make their way to parliament for legislation.

Also speaking, the head of the SGBV Unit at the Ministry of Justice Cllr. Isaac L. George blamed the prevalence of SGBV cases in Liberia on entrenched cultural attitudes and gender stereotypes that define appropriate behavior for men and women, thus creating inequalities and subordinates women and young girls to men and boys in the Liberian society.

Cllr. George maintained that these entrenched cultural attitudes are exacerbated by limited socioeconomic opportunities and empowerment of women and girls, often leading to violent acts by men against women and girls in Liberia.

Cllr. George said the report by the Ministry of Gender further reveal that 45.1% of the total survivor of rape Nationwide were children between the ages of 13-17 years, describing it as worrisome.


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