A campaign intended to create awareness in churches, Mosques, communities and Schools to end Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) has ended in Monrovia and its environs.
The campaign, organized by Oxfam Liberia with support from European Union (EU) in partnership with other stakeholders, is part of the 16 days of activism against SGBV. Held from the 25th of November to 10 December, the campaign was held under the global theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, and Collect!”
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer on Sunday, December 4, 2020 Oxfam Gender Justice Program coordinator, Beatrice Newland, said that the purpose of the initiative was to intensify the call to end SGBV and other abuses, which is still prominent in the society.
Madam Newland also added that, they are doing this in serval churches around Monrovia; she named the St. Kizito Catholic Church in Paynesville, the Winner’s Chapel in Congo-town, Bethel World Outreach Ministries, Philadelphia Central Church, and Calvary Baptist Church, among others that they visited.
“So we are calling on Churches, Mosques and schools to join us in this fight, to help report and support several of SGBV cases,” madam Newland.
According to her, the issue of SGBV is becoming alarming especially rape; it’s is now becoming a national crisis in Liberia. “This is unacceptable in our society. We see children as young as 6 months old being rape by full grew men.”
She told the St. Kizito Catholic Congregation the fight to end SGBV is not one person’s business; something which she believes should be a collective effort.
Madam Newland indicated that in most instances, perpetrators go unpunished, so therefore we are calling on stakeholders to join us in this fight so that those who are survivors can receive justice.
Madam Newland: Our expectation for this campaign is that people should be more aware of this issue. They should join the fight, that people will no longer sit and say it is not their business, but rather everyone’s business.”
She told the congregation that the role of parents is the fight of SGBV is paramount, noting that they should be able to talk to their children at home, while serving as role models, because most often children learn from their parents.
Giving an example, she said if a boy sees his father violating his mother’s right by (beating on her), he or she is going to copy such a behavior and carry it outside and apply same.
She encouraged parents train their children to understand that women and girls have rights that must be protected at all times.
“These things are sometimes connected to our cultural beliefs and practices. It is about time we change those beliefs and practices that perpetrate violence against women and girls,” she said.
She also disclosed that the organization has been doing a lot over the years under the Enough Campaign, adding they have been working in schools, communities in and out of Monrovia, including in Sinoe and Grand Gedeh Counties.
“We work with partners because it is being led by Oxfam in Liberia and we are also working with 16 other partners who are also doing serval other activities in the same direction.”
At the same time Caroline Samuel, member of the team, said that everyone should speak out against violence against women and girls, especially rape, which is on the increase as perpetrators are going unpunished.
Ms. Samuel frowned on individuals who use dress code as a justification for rape. “There are people who stay in the street all night with an indecent dress code, but have not been raped, so this is not about the dress code.”