By Titus Barbu
He for She Crusaders Liberia (HEFOSLE) in collaboration with the West Africa Network for Peace Building, or WANEP-Liberia, has concluded a day-long stakeholder meeting in the Township of West Point on creating awareness to bring about behavioral change among men, to end or reduce sexual and gender-based violence in the community.
The HEFOSLE through the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP-Liberia) has been entrusted to implement a portion of activity under pillar three of the EU/ UN Spotlight Initiative to identify and strengthen male networks, to create awareness in their respective communities and to bring about behavioral change among men, which will be resolved towards ending sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices, and foster sexual reproductive health and rights and creating awareness on COVID-19 health protocols.
The Project, which is funded by the European Union (EU), is being implemented in five counties, including Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount, and Montserrado respectively.
Speaking recently during a dialogue in West Point, Montserrado County, He for She Crusaders Liberia National Coordinator Tamba F. J. Johnson stressed the need for more awareness to end sexual and gender-based violence in Liberia.
According to him, rape is alarming in Liberia. He noted that now is the time for various groups and individuals to work with men, traditional leaders, and communities in raising more awareness in ending sexual violence against women and girls.
“Prevention is what we are doing now to engage men, traditional fathers and influential community men in towns and Villages to end sexual and gender-based violence in Liberia under pillar three of the Spotlight Initiative,” he noted.
Tamba explained that the Spotlight Initiative is meant to engage and advocate in order to end sexual gender-based violence, the practice of FGM, and a culture of impunity, fostering sexual reproductive health and rights education throughout Liberia.
Meanwhile, the Gender Coordinator of West Point Madam Kula Borbor welcomed the initiative, describing it as a gateway for reducing rape and other forms of violence against women and girls in the township of West Point.
Madam Borbor noted that teenage pregnancy and domestic violence are said to be on the increase in West Point, especially during this COVID-19 period, with women and girls suffering on a daily basis.
“We tell God thank you for you people coming here to help in West point. I am really happy to see you people, because the issue of rape is on the increase. Just last week, we reported two additional rape cases and domestic violence, especially beating on women; it is difficult here, so I am very happy for your coming. I know this program will help us here,” Madam Borbor explained.
In remarks, West Point Commissioner William C. Wea thanked the He for She Crusaders Liberia for the great initiative in creating more awareness in the township for men to curtail sexual and gender-based violence in the community and Liberia at large.
Commissioner Wea however promised the He for She Crusaders Liberia and partners that the township under his leadership will not compromise any rape case or cases in the area.
“As an authority in the township of West Point, we will ensure that when there is a situation, we will not compromise, we will make sure that those responsible account for their action in keeping with the law and I can promise you that there will be no rape issue compromised in this township, ’’ he said.
Also speaking, the Mandi Governor of West Point Stephen Karmoh said rape is affecting men in out society, stressing the need for seriousness in punishing perpetrators.
“Anywhere we go for a meeting, they say ‘Rape.’ And who do it? Men 35 and 45 years old. But the punishment of these people, the government never takes it seriously. When they are taken to court, they are free because the law is not being taken seriously,’’ he said.