UN-Women Programme Manager for Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Dhogba G. Mabande, said gender violence remains a major threat to the security of women and children throughout the world with Liberia being no exception.
Mabande made the statement yesterday at the kickoff of a 5-day gender sensitive media reporting training in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County when he said that the act is perpetrated because of the unequal power relationships in society between men and women.
Mr. Mabande said statistics from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection indicates a total of 1685 cases of SGBV reported from January to December 2017.
“This reflects the very few women and girls who braved the storm to report the abuse to seek redress. The Government of Liberia and the United Nations Joint Program to prevent and respond to SGBV and Harmful Traditional Practices, which is funded by the Government of Sweden seeks to involve the community, traditional leaders, religious leaders, other stakeholders and the media in the fight to end all forms of violence against women and girls,” he said.
He said the media remains a potentially powerful channel of information in a society, adding the messages they transmit can change or reinforce social norms and behaviors and mobilize citizens to take progressive actions.
“The role of the media is significant in perpetuating stereotypes as well as challenging social norms that condone discrimination or violence against women,” he said.
According to him, the role of the media is very significant in shaping public perceptions about women and men, therefore it is important that reporting avoids any form of gender stereotypes, which often limit and trivialize females as well as present an inaccurate view of the world and its possibilities.
He said UN Women collaborates closely with the media as a key ally in advancing women rights. Daniel Nyakonah, Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia, lauded UN-Women for organizing such an important training for Liberian journalists.
Nyakonah said while SGBV issues are not new, he believes that the media can do more in covering issues affecting women and children. Meanwhile, about 40 journalists are said to be participating in the training and will include field trips and production of news articles that focus on women and children. The training, which is the second phase, will be climaxed on Friday.