Rape Now A ‘National Emergency’, President Declares

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Scores of protesters on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 gathered to petition the Liberian Government to strengthen the justice system to enable rape survivors get speedy justice in order to end the harmful act against women, girls and boys.

By Hannah N. Geterminah

Barely three weeks after hundreds of Liberian got in the streets of Monrovia, demanding for President George M. Weah to declare rape a ‘national emergency,’ the Liberian leader has finally issued a proclamation to that effect.

According to a press release from the Executive Mansion, issued Friday afternoon, the President made the bold move following the successful conclusion of a 2-day National Anti-Rape and Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Conference that was convened by the government to validate the National Roadmap on Rape and SGBV, produced by the Inter-ministerial taskforce set up by him a few weeks ago.

At the end of the national stakeholders’ conference on September 9 and following the receipt of the communique derived from deliberations at the conference, the release said, President Weah, the self-declared Feminist-In-Chief, promised that his administration would move with deliberate speed to ensure that the recommendations presented would be judiciously and expeditiously addressed.

“The declaration of the National Rape Emergency on Friday, September 11, 2020, which has come barely two days out of the national anti-rape conference held on September 8-9, 2020, fulfilled that promise of the President and his zero tolerance stances on rape and SGBV,” the release said.

“Under the National Rape Emergency,” the release said, “President Weah declared initial measures that include the appointment of a Special Prosecutor for rape; the setting up of a National Sex Offender Registry; the establishment of a National Security Taskforce on SGBV, and the allotment of an initial amount of US$2 million to beef up the fight against rape and SGBV in the country.”

Women at the just-ended anti-rape conference in Monrovia

The release said the President, following the issuance of the proclamation, said his administration would spare no effort in ensuring that the rape and SGBV pandemic scourging the country is curtailed.

President Weah said additional measures would be announced subsequently, including Executive Orders to protect the vulnerable and to ban harmful traditional practices.

He urged all Liberians, activists, as well as local and international stakeholders to work with government to defeat rape and SGBV in the country.

It may be recalled that, from August 25 to 27, 2020, hundreds of protesters gathered in Monrovia to petition the Government of Liberia to strengthen the justice system to allow rape survivors to get justice and put to end the harmful act against women, girls, and boys.

From August 25 to 27, 2020, hundreds of protesters gathered in Monrovia to petition the government to take decisive action against rape and other forms of SGBV.

The organizers, on September 2, said they intended to return to the streets in the next three weeks if President Weah refused to declare Rape a ‘National Emergency.’

“We will mobilize social forces to return to the streets within three weeks. If the government does not take concrete steps to end this rape pandemic, we will be forced to return to the streets to demand solution. We need solutions now and there is no joke about this,” said Natalyn Omell Beh, one of the protest planners.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. President Weah does not have to morph into a “benevolent dictator” if only he listens to the people in this manner and takes the appropriate steps to address their concerns.

    Nevertheless, taking a standoffish stance against defenseless women and teenage girls when they are simply marching to present their grievances on grave social issues affecting them is not good.

    This kind of presidential posturing sends the wrong message that the president does not take his oath of office seriously. Moreover, in a country like ours, where the rumor mills sometimes take precedent above ligit information networks, the public perception of President Weah will be that he resists tackling the intractable issue of rape because he is secretly conspiring with some of the hardcore criminal rapists.

    I say woe to any president who disdains the power of rumors! Rumors have the propensity to stick and irrevocably tarnish a leader’s image even a good one. And for this reason, upright leaders are open and forthcoming with their citizens and do not wait for events to blow out of proportion before they turn to damage control as a last resort.

    Why should President Weah, the self-proclaimed Feminist-in-Chief, freeze and become a do-nothing president when our vulnerable women are crying to him for help? Does he not understand this kind of behavior gives credence to an old saying, “He who sees evil and fails to protest it, is as much as involved as the perpetrators?”

  2. Donald Attoh, a sovereign leader, be him or her a monarch or a president physically meeting protesters on rape or whichever issue, or the leader delegating the Minister proper within whose official or governmental province centers the teleology of the protest and petition is neither the solution nor the sine qua non of getting rid of the problem or menace.

    Your view would have met logical or rule of law standards, had the President denied the rights of the protesters to protest and present their petition *as required and authorized in Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution) and or not delegate his Minister of Gender to proxy his presidential presence, recognition, and commitment, honoring the protesters and their petition.

    The very fact that..

    (1) The President carried out his oath of office and upheld the Liberian Constitution by delegating his Minister of Gender to proxy his presidential presence, recognition, and commitment, honoring the protesters and their petition, and..

    (2) has in fact, declared the letter and the spirit of the very petition and the menace a national emergency..

    (3) renders every line of your comment a boredom, with you the source having no regard for common sense, the principles of State governance, and the dictates of the rule of law, or the Liberian Constitution!.

  3. “Under the National Rape Emergency, initial measures that include the appointment of a special prosecutor for rape; the setting up of a national sex offender registry; the establishment of a national security taskforce on SGBV, and the allotment of an initial amount of US$2 million to beef up the fight against rape and SGBV in the country.” Now, here’s the deal, US$2M at stake, let’s watch and who all the president will appoint “special prosecutors,” and what will be their mandate or term of reference. Maybe, this is another “talk” as usual.

  4. I Hope, Not A Fertile Ground for Personal Vendetta.

    We hope the right person be arrested and charged. Otherwise, we will see retaliatory, vengeful accusation from “jealous ex-female lovers”. The accusation might lend an unlucky gentleman to his grave. The accusation will be, “he raped me”, and the rest is history for the “culprit”.

    In a society where there is no sophisticated scientific method to prove DNA related crime, weaponizing rape will probably be the easier way to square off long love feud by some women.. I m not any way supporting rape; however, it should not be used as a breeding ground for personal vendetta by some women.

    Sending US $2 million to the government to beef up the fight against rape is putting the cart before the horse or sending ripe banana into the cage of hungry monkeys. Whoever provided the US $2 million, should have used the money to set up DNA laboratory to help with the investigation of rape cases. I m afraid if it is done by: he say, she say, they say, we will be putting some innocent men behind bars.

    This is my personal opinion.
    Mamadu S. Bah.

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