By Charles Bruce, co-founder of Imedia
Campaigning against sexual violence against women and girls is an issue not many Liberian artists love to get involved in.
But for Kobazzie, a celebrated singer and songwriter, it is something that is worth getting into.
“The issue of sexual violence is something that needs everyone’s attention because it is a crime and violation of the victim’s human rights. It is about time we join hands together and fight against it. Sexual assault on women and girls are ruining their lives,” Kobazzie said.
Since joining the bandwagon and campaigning against sexual violence against women and girls a month ago, Kobazzie has become one of the leading voices, most especially from the music industry, speaking out on issues.
And a week from now, the artist is expected to release his highly anticipated single, “Say No to Rape,” and an upcoming planned campaign against sexual violence is expected early next month.
“The ProPublica and Time report about the five years of uncovered sexual abuse at ‘More Than Me Academy’ opened my eyes to a lot of issues which motivated me to use my status as an artist to call for an end to sexual violence against women and girls.
“I believe I don’t need to wait for my friends or any of my family members to be sexually assaulted and abused before I speak out.
“Sexual abuse of children, whether boy or girl, is a violation of a a person’s human rights; therefore, there is a need for people like me with influence to join the bandwagon and help eliminate it, if possible,” Kobazzie noted.
The issue of sexual violence against women and girls is on the increase across the country. According to Yawo Mensah Magio, UN Women Operations Director, incidents of sexual violence against women and girls continue to escalate, with 1,028 cases reported for the period between January to June this year alone.
Magio said that one in three women and girls experiences physical or sexual violence at some point in life, “because in Liberia, violence against women and girls has been deeply entrenched in social and cultural landscape; yet it remains one of the least crimes for which the perpetrators are never prosecuted.”
Solution to the problem
Kobazzie added that the major problem of sexual abuse in Liberia is due to low education on the level of harm it causes the victim.
The singer further said the solution to the persistent problem of increase in the report of sexual assault on women and girls in Liberia, is through massive awareness, to help Liberians understand that violence against women and girls is wrong and that such actions have a trickle-down effect on the state of the country.
“People need to be educated about why they should stop violence against children or women at local and national level. It is at the local level that the crime is committed and mostly unreported or handled as a family matter.
“While at the national level, authorities need to be pressurized to ensure that survivors of sexual violence have meaningful redress by creating a justice system in which they are confident,” the singer said.
Kobazzie added the goal of his upcoming campaign against sexual violence is meant to greatly reduce the issue through behavioral change among the large population.
The singer further said the overall goal of the campaign is to raise public awareness and increase political will to prevent all forms of violence against women and girls through a collective effort.
“To achieve the goal of this campaign, we will be moving from door to door, speaking to women and men about sexual violence and what role they can play to end or reduce it. It is about time we work with people to change their mindsets and get involved in the fight against sexual violence, mostly against women, just like the same way we worked to defeat Ebola very effectively,” the singer added.
About the author. Charles Bruce is the co-founder of Imedia, a social media page dedicated to promoting Liberian entertainment industry.