The government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is considered by the opposition party as being chiefly responsible for and the “primary cause of the rise in the number of rape cases across the country.”
According to the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), “the lack of interest on the part of government, particularly the Ministry of Justice, to prosecute alleged perpetrators is the real reason while people take pleasure in committing sexual and gender based violence.”
CDC, through its chairman Nathaniel McGill, asserted that in the absence of a vibrant and robust legal framework to try cases of gender based-violence in the country, the laws and policy to eliminate the crime from the society will “never be successful.”
McGill was launching an Anti-Rape campaign initiated by the CDC Women’s League in collaboration with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to which government officials, including stakeholders in the justice system, were invited but failed to show up, forcing the CDC to express serious disappointment and frustration.
CDC believes government’s action was “deliberate and counterproductive to combating such a ‘crippling disease’ in the country, said McGill.
“They failed to join the campaign here today because their children are not directly affected. They have their families abroad so there’s no interest for the common Liberians. We blame our government for the increase in the number of rape cases because of the government’s inability to pursue gender based-violence and abuses to the logical conclusion.
“Even if we have better laws on the books to deal with a situation of such nature, we need a strong team at the government prosecuting arm to challenge these cases in court and make sure that the state emerges the victor. By doing so, you scare perpetrators and would be offenders to abandon their desire,” McGill declared.
The CDC’s argument was buttressed by its political leader and Montserrado County Senator George Weah who noted that statistics from the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Protection about sexual and gender based violence against girls and women were alarming and needed timely intervention.
“Rape cases involving girls between the ages of zero to 12 amount to over 50% while Montserrado, the county I represent has the highest number of rape cases. That must stop now,” he insisted.
“Your action today does not only tell the world that women are ready for justice, but also signals that you are ready to withstand the challenges associated with this crime in order to save our society,” Weah told the CDC Women
“Those responsible for these crimes will not show up here, but I promise that we will not rest until we bring them to book,” Weah vowed.
Despite calling for stringent measures against perpetrators, the CDC political leader believes that achieving this goal will be an uphill task, but with commitment from stakeholders involved, “the society will one day be freed of these acts,” he assured the CDC Women