The Director of the Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Crimes Unit of Persecution at the Ministry of Justice, Cllr Isaac George, has stated that tremendous progress has been made in the fight against SGBV with assistance from the Liberian Government and international partners, such as the United Nations, UNDP, and European Union (EU). He said the issue of violence against women and girls is receiving more attention than it ever has in the history of the nation, and he adds that if statistics and analysis are done on those who have been penalized in Liberia for SGBV now, more people have been punished than in the past.
“The fact that cases are coming out and perpetrators are being punished tells you that citizens now trust the system, they believe that persons who are violated have a forum for redress.”
Speaking to reporters in Monrovia on Thursday, October 20, 2021, at the conclusion of a two-day Spotlight Initiative, Cllr. George said that wearing modest clothing does not give a guy the license to sexually assault women and girls. He mentioned how ladies used to go to the creek to take baths while taking off their clothes a few years ago in the remote areas of Liberia, but no man ever had the desire to rape them. The attorney added that, in contrast to a few years ago, when everyone realized that FGM is an injustice against women and girls, there have been significant changes in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM). Traditional people and elders now understand this, the lawyer stated. The Director claimed that as more people become educated and informed, they will be better equipped to defend themselves from being either victims or offenders.
Caroline Bowah, a free-lance consultant on SGBV, said the Spotlight Initiative is part of a larger initiative being carried out by the government of Liberia and aid organizations. She claims that the Spotlight Initiative is primarily trying to assist the Liberian government in its efforts to combat SGBV and harmful practices.
Mohammed Massalee, a technical assistant at the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, said the initiative’s funding is spread across five counties, including Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Cape Mount, and Montserrado, with the overall objective being the eradication of SGBV and harmful social practices. According to Massalee, the government will consult with the UN and other partners to see if their project may be expanded to other countries if it is intended to do so.
Reported by: Rancy Teewia