Spread Your Lappa against Rape in Liberia

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Montserrado, Liberia- Anger, disappointment, frustration and sadness are some of the emotions that stir up in women whenever they hear the news of another woman or child being raped.

But for far too long, the many strategies put in place to stop rape have not worked and sexual assault cases are still rising.

Berenice Mulubah, a Liberian Blogger and entertainer has brought forward her own strategy to help put an end to such unlawful acts of violence and the mental, physical and emotional trauma caused by sexual assault.

“We are planning a campaign against rape, sexual assault and violence against women through the involvement of Liberian communities around the world,” she added via Facebook.

The campaign is set to take off this Saturday April 11 in two locations, the BYC field in Monrovia at 1pm and in Makefield Rd, Morrisville, PA 19067 in the US, at 1pm.

According to Berenice’s Facebook page under the name Zama Queen and cliberiaclearly, she credited two people who have helped tremendously.

“Minister Eugene Nagbe of the Ministry of Youth and Sports secured a venue for the event and Lincoln The Legend Ward gave a financial donation to help us print our flyers,” she posted.  

This campaign will be the first of its kind and is also being supported by C Liberia Clearly, Irep LIB, The Success Forum and HottFm 107.9.

 “Also with the commitment of my hard working team mates Siah Stevens, Jemiama Dassan and Caleb Fredrick Foley, I have no doubt that the campaign will make an impact,” Berenice added.

According to Berenice, “rape is on the increase all around the world, including Liberia where it receives little or no coverage, as serious as it has become.”

And she believes that the rape epidemic should be handled with care.

“We will handle the rape epidemic the same way we did Ebola with massive awareness and involvement of the communities.

“There will be amazing guest speakers with firsthand information on the rape epidemic in Liberia and rape survivors sharing their stories and how they dealt with PTSD,” she shared.

Educating communities on how they can be a part of the solution.

Meanwhile, this event will help many Liberian women to stand together to stop rape. Berenice says in order for that to happen, women need to be alerted about the serious rape problem in Liberia.

According to documents gathered by Bushchicken website, 40 rape cases in Liberia were docketed in mid-2013 of which only two were tried.

“Liberia has reported over 10,000 rape cases in the last four years. In 2009, Criminal Court E was established specifically for rape cases. In February of 2015, the court released its report on cases on the docket, showing 20 convictions and 16 acquittals with one hung verdict, since its establishment in 2009” bushbucket.com highlighted.

Furthermore, with the recent release of rape stats in Liberia, it is clear to say that rape has not stopped.

The “Spread Your Lappa Campaign” has over thousands of supporters on facebook, each having their own say while posting pictures of them opening their lappas.

One post reads: “The need to campaign against rape is very important, but the symbol chosen beats my imagination. Look carefully at the pictures of women opening their lappas exposing their thighs. Is it not seductive?

“Real men will not dare rape a woman, much less talk about a child. However when a woman exposes her body, it invites weak men. PLEASE CHANGE YOUR SYMBOL. DON'T EXPOSE YOUR BODY LIKE THIS. WE WILL JOIN THE CAMPAIGN,” posted Garswa Reuben Duncan II.

In response to Garswa’s post, Berenice posted this.

“Outfit is not consent for rape, that's another powerful awareness message. Don't take it by force even if the woman is naked. No means no,” she added.

“Spreading lappa is a tradition in Liberia. Folks spread lappa to cry for help, to celebrate or to mourn the dead. Rape is sex without consent, period. When it comes to sex, a child is not of legal age to consent. Rape hurts; it hurts its victims and society. We must all stand in coalition against rape in Liberia,” she urged.

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