– Identifies factors facilitating rape and SGBV cases
The Forum for African Women Educationists (FAWE) has pointed out impunity, injustice, institutional weaknesses, corruption, lack of due diligence, logistical and financial constraints as key issues facilitating rape and is therefore designing an anti-rape campaign plan to bring the public to its conscience in ensuring that girls and children are safe like any other person in a stable and civilized society.
According to FAWE, it has planned to carry out media awareness, develop jingles, promos on gender-based violence and sexual violence and abuse against girls and young women, simplify and disseminate policies and laws on girls education, lobby with policy and lawmakers, line ministries, local authorities to enforce the rape law.
FAWE is a non-governmental organization that seeks to promote gender equality and equity in education in Liberia by fostering positive policies, practices, and attitudes towards girl’s education.
Reflecting on Liberia’s role in international conventions, FAWE in a concept note for activism said: “Liberia is a signatory to all United Nation (UN) conventions and instruments, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1990 World Summit Goals for Children and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, that promulgated to promote and protect the welfare, safety, survival and the dignity of children.”
FAWE, however, acknowledges some measures put in place by the government of Liberia in collaboration with UN agencies and child-focus organizations operating in the country to protect the children of Liberia from violence and exploitation. “The passing of the Rape Law, the National Policy on Girls Education, the establishment of the Ministry of Gender and Development and the establishment of the Women and Children’s Protection Section (WACPS) of the National Police are cases in point.”
FAWE further noted that, “In spite of these measures, most children in Liberia are, on a daily basis, subjected to humiliating and degrading treatments, which abuse their human dignity and physical integrity. Police records abound in reported cases of rape and other forms of sexual exploitation and harassment by unscrupulous men. The fear of sexual harassment of children and young women is alarming and has become worrisome.”
The organization says SGBV is holding girls and young women back in Liberia. “Sexual violence and abuse have become the two most grave forms of GBV seriously affecting both girls and boys as well as young women’s development and livelihood of which rape including sodomy has become the most frequently committed crimes. Rape is known to be an underestimated crime, given the culture of silence that surrounds issues of sexuality.”
Additionally, FAWE highlighted the high rate of rape cases in Liberia that have been a long-standing concern as the incidence of rape appears to have risen sharply in 2020. Rape, including sodomy, is a crime that is mostly committed by men. Available statistics from the police and the Ministry of Gender Children & Social Protection(MOGSP) revealed over 1,000 cases of rapes over the period from January to September 2020, and indicate further that nearly all the perpetrators of rape were men.