Slight Reduction of Rape Cases, Sodomy of Boys Increases

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Gender, Children and Social Welfare Minister Julia Duncan Cassel has said there was no significant reduction of rape cases in the country from 2014 and between January and September 2015.

Minister Cassell made the statement yesterday at the program marking the observance of 16 days activism at a press conference at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Monrovia.

She said while there were a total of 1,139 gender based violence cases nationwide reported in 2014, there have been 1,088 gender base violence cases reported between January and September 2015.

“In 2014, 720 cases were reported as rapes with 657 victims being under age 18 with five girls between ages 5-14 years and in the period under discussion in 2015, out of 1,088 GBV cases, 588 were rape cases with 239 being children below 16 years,” she said.

Minister Duncan added that seven of the victims below age 14 died as a result while two adults also died as the result of rape.

“Of the 1,088 perpetrators, only 344 were arrested and 210 have been indicted while 21 have been convicted and are serving their prison terms and 17 cases were dismissed due to lack of evidence,” she said.

She said Montserrado County accounts for the highest reported rape cases while Rivercess County accounts for the lowest reported cases of rape.

Minister Cassell said despite the consolidated efforts to tackle SGBV and rape in the country it is still a major threat to the security of women, girls and boys across Liberia.

“Even though, the overwhelming majority of rape victims are girls, reported cases of sodomy of boys is also on the rise and we need to act now,” she said.

Minister Cassell disclosed that this year’s observance of the 16 days activism focused on encouraging activists to pay more attention to issues that are most relevant in the Liberian context because participation in this year’s campaign does not only provide an opportunity to advocate against rape and raise awareness about SGBV but to amplify the voices of women who refuse to be silent.

Deputy Secretary General to the Special Representative of the United Nations Missions in Liberia (UNMIL), Antonio Vigilante called on Liberians to work together to fight against rape and Sexual Gender Base Violence (SGBV).

He described rape and sexual gender base violence as greatest vampires for women and children in the country.

He said SGBV and rape will not stop until Liberian communities come together and report all rape cases or violence to the Ministry of Gender.

“President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in one of her remarks declared corruption as a vampire and called on everyone to fight against it so I urge everyone to stand up against SGBV, and rape because it’s the greatest vampire for our women,” he said.

Mr. Vigilante added, “The observance of the 16 days activism is time for everyone to say no to impunity, compromising, and excuses for rape and SGBV cases in Liberia.”

He called on the media to be a tremendous partner to help fight against rape and SGBV by reporting rape and SGBV cases to bring justice to the victims.

Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, chairperson of the Women’s Legislative Caucus reminded women to be responsible to report cases of rape and SGBV.

“It is unimaginable for men to rape children of ages 2, 3 or 5 years, which is very dangerous, so it’s now time for us to step up and make sure that violence against women is stopped at all levels,” she said.

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