The Women’s NGOs Secretariat Network of Liberia (WONGOSOL), with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI), has launched a policy brief on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases.
The document, titled: “Monitoring and reporting of SGBV amid Liberia’s Coronavirus crisis”, was launched on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, at the Corina Hotel, on 24th street in Sinkor, Monrovia.
The launch was held under the theme: “The rape epidemic During Coronavirus Pandemic; The Birth of SGBV Reform.”
Lena T. Cummings, Program Advisor of WONGOSOL, presenting on the key findings of the policy brief said the findings were conducted in selected communities in Montserrado and Margibi counties. “We documented a total of 109 cases in these counties”.
She said more than 60 percent of the SGBV cases documented came from Montserrado, nearly 40 percent from Margibi, with only 5% survivors males while the majority, up to 104 percent were female survivors.
Lena said it was during the heat of the rape epidemic that a three-day protest was held by dozens of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and activists calling for an end to rape. “Evidently, the peaceful protest increased the saliency of the SGBV problem raised and put the same high on the government of Liberia’s agenda and encouraged policy-induced reform actions.”
She recalled that rape was decleared a national emergency by the President and a number of initial measures announced including 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, the allotment of the initial amount of USD $2 Million fund for the procurement of two DNA machines for the prosecution of sexual crimes.
Launching the document, Alice Johnson Horward, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP), said the ministry will use those data presented by WONGOSOL to be able to implement policies.
She praised the document, stating that it is labelled with the roadmap that was set up by President George Weah. “The roadmap is a tool we have developed to eradicate rape in our society.”
Alice said the data given by WONGOSOL will serve as a working tool to pave the way for the roadmap to be fully implemented.
“we are moved by data and not just the readings, when you present data to us we moved to work further”