“We Need to Stop Protecting Rapists in Africa”

4
1989
First Lady Clar Weah (with red purse), leads the charge with dignitaries in a parade at the launch of the "She's You" Movement.

— Sierra Leone’s First Lady

Mrs. Fatima Jebbeh Bio, Sierra Leone’s First Lady, has called on women of Africa to work as a team to educate the men about the dangers associated with rape, to end violence meted against women and girls over the years.

Mrs. Bio made the remarks yesterday in Monrovia during the official launch of the “She’s You Movement”, the flagship program of Liberia’s First Lady, Clar Marie Weah.

The She’s You Movement aims to promote gender equality, women empowerment and to eliminate gender-based violence and other conditions that inhibit the potential of women and girls to be active participants in community and national decision-making.

Mrs. Bio said the First Ladies of the African continent are not ready to be silenced by any man on the issue of rape and other forms of violence against women and girls, adding, “we cannot tolerate rape in our society anymore.”

Mrs. Bio recounted how Liberia and Sierra Leone shared something in common by defeating the Deadly Ebola Virus Disease and will work together to defeat domestic violence on women and girls. “We need to stop protecting rapists and say enough is enough,” Mrs. Bio stressed. She said it is easy to become a first lady, but more difficult if you do not have the support of your husband.

She said until Africa can work together as a team and make the men understand through education about abusing the women, the men will not stop. “Let’s start educating our men, and the continent about ending the violence against women.”

Mrs. Bio said she believes that Mrs. Weah is prepared to add her voice to the many voices to help change the African Continent case, especially on rape and domestic violence.

“I’m not willing to be silent on rape. Mrs. Weah’s voice will be louder if everyone in Liberia stands by her and believes that ‘She’s You’ and one will not say such if you don’t believe it,” Mrs. Bio said.

Mrs. Fatima Jebbeh Bio, Sierra Leone’s First Lady.

Yesterday’s program was witnessed by thousands, led by the First Lady Mrs. Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, as a demonstration of their condemnation of all forms of violence against women and girls in Liberia and Africa.

The program was attended Mrs. Fatima Jebbeh Bio of Sierra Leone, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo of Ghana, representative of the First Lady of Niger, as well as ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, Baba Tunde Ajisomo, UN representatives and ambassadors.

President George M. Weah, who officially launched the campaign, pledged his government’s commitment in addressing issues affecting women and girls.

President Weah said development cannot succeed if violence continues to exist in the society, especially against women and girls. “Liberia will not be developed if the girls and women are left out,” he noted.

President Weah, who continuously praised Mrs. Weah for her kindness over the years, said the She’s You movement is perfectly aligned with the Pro-poor movement and appreciate the Liberian First Lady for the initiative.

President George M. Weah launched She’sYou movement of Mrs. Clar Weah yesterday in Monrovia.

Theodosia Slewion Kolee, chairperson of the National Aids Commission of Liberia said Liberia and other African countries have made commitment to end HIV/AIDS. Madam Kolee said Liberia has 39,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, which comprises 22,000 women, 14,000 men and 3,000 children.

“Liberia has shown tremendous progress in ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, but stigma and discrimination remain the major challenges,” Kolee said.

First Lady Weah said the national advocacy program aims to ensure the improvement of women’s lives for a prosperous and better Liberia. The launch is a new movement introduced in Liberia, a nation that is so dear to her life.

Mrs. Weah said she feels the pains and trauma that abused women go through and it is time she sparked the conscience of society to remain awake and responsive to the plights of women and girls in the country.

“We cannot or will not boast of a democratic society until the issue of inclusiveness in society is achieved, where the rights of all are respected and the opportunity for one to develop oneself; also the opportunity for women to develop themselves by giving the most valuable skills, protection and place to develop,” Mrs. Weah said.

She said the pride of women has improved, citing former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and now vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor.

“As these distinguished Liberian women are trade blazers in the advocacy of the rights of women, not just in Liberia but in Africa as a whole, I stand to support their worthy efforts and all women of Liberia, especially the market women,” she said.

“Today,” Mrs. Weah said, “I rise to bring forth a revolutionary idea of She’s You movement. Additionally, we launched the free to shine campaign that hold as the bedrock the eradication of the HIV/AIDS for mother to child, a campaign whose time has surely come. The campaign is possible but depends on what the people of Liberia will do.”

Mrs. Weah said over the last several months, she has traveled to rural towns and villages interacting with women from all walks of life, including women, girls, men and boys and has been “inspired and moved to do something, which is now the She’s You movement,” she stated. She said the She’sYou movement maybe a dream of hers, but requires collective efforts.

According to her, this program seems to redefine the way Liberian men treat women and girls — with respect, unhindered access to education, political, social, economic, and access to equal opportunity for leadership for all levels.

“Pushing for the adoption for sound policy and enforceable legislation that will be keen on women and girls’ issues, and looking keenly on harmful practices such as child marriage and teenage pregnancy, which will be high on the She’sYou movement,” Mrs. Weah said.

Marie-Goreth Nizigama, UNWomen Country Representative said of the five (5) UN Women Liberia programmatic areas, the First Lady’s Flagship: “SHE’s YOU MOVEMENT”, is closely aligned with two (2) programmatic areas which include Women’s Economic Empowerment; and Ending Violence Against Women.

She said Building synergies with the First Lady’s flagship program is key to ensuring a harmonized approach to maximizing program impact at the national and sub-national levels.

Hundreds parade on Broad Street, Monrovia, during the launch of the She’s You Movement on Thursday, June 20.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I thought assembling and marching in the streets of Liberia was considered illegal by the justice ministry and what was legal is to gather at a specific location to present their concerns. This is not what I saw happening here. Has the law change again or just another selective political decision?
    The rape crisis in Africa need to be really picture bigger than it is now because of it complexity. It is complex because rape occurred in so many ways in which many could be avoided if the females are educated to stayed one step of the dating games. There are do’s and don’t and they must be respected in every way. Other than violent rapes where the lady is adopted against her will should be the focus of discussion because this is where the men need to be educated about being violent to get sexual satisfaction is criminal in today’s society.
    The real issues here in terms of social dating and then later claimed to be rape is what bother me per say. Sexual feelings are not just like a switch that one turn on and turn off at will. As I said before, lot of these rapes can be avoided if the ladies can stayed one step ahead of the relationship and this were the education comes in for the girls. to be con’t…….

  2. The right to free movement people, and Liberia is all we got people, and the ones right begins where another’s rights stop people, well , where are they ? They don’t want to walk the streets freely anymore ? Until it is protest time, then they have a right to free movement. This hustler of a wife is something else . Tax dollars equal free spending money for attention to the one and only Mrs Weah. Rape cases are at the Ministry of Gender , see what your influence can do about them . It won’t caused a penny to the taxpayers. Action speaks louder than spending free taxpayer’s money to draw attention . The past regime, there were more of the same rape parades. But interestingly rape cases were on the rise. And here’s another free tax dollars for image building purposes. The guests and their plane tickets, what institution or organization was responsible ? Ghanaian government did that for their first lady on the backs of their taxpayers ?

  3. Well let Clar Weah begin her campaign by educating her husband about paying child support to the multiple babies her husband popped out in our society as well as the United States. There are reports that he recently impregnated his Defense Minister’s wife. Clar is a joke and what about the news that Weah’s girl friend slapped the Clar woman for accusing her of loving to her husband?

  4. President Weah says that the She’s You Movement is perfectly in line with his Pro-poor Agenda. Well, while I do not refute this claim, I would like to ask him whether the June 7 march was not also in line with his Pro-poor Agenda.

    The She’s You march went quite well without any brouhaha. Why then President Weah had such a hard time in allowing the June 7 peaceful march to go on? Is it because he hates the essence of its resounding message and the demonstration of the resilience of the Liberian people in voicing out their sentiments against how he is running the country? I think it that it was a combination of these factors.

    I wonder President if Weah realizes that protests do undergird a democracy whether the issues are favorable or not favorable to the leader?

    Rumors are circulating that there will be more demonstrations. Will he allocate more money to shut the internet down and stir up more panic in the business community? Is the government of Liberia ready again to receive delegates from the AU, OAU, UN, EU and so forth to warn it, that it must respect the rights of the people to assemble — a right that President Weah and his CDC devotees enjoyed unstoppably throughout the Ellen administration?

    Finally, I wonder if President Weah does realize that Liberia will never forge ahead if it refuses to confront its past. The fundamental injustice of destroying the lives of 250,000 of our compatriots must be addressed. In its absence, all other endeavors remain fleeting illusions that the nation is pursuing.

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