Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has reiterated that poor parenting is contributing to the spike in rape cases, calling on parents to pay more attention to their children.
“I want to make a point that I made a few months ago that caused many people to get on the other side. I said clearly that day — and I repeat — we must begin to look at what is happening in our homes. If a three years old child was raped, where was the mother? Many women took it out of context,” the VP said.
According to her, if parents are paying more attention to their children, there would be a decrease in rape cases.
“My point was, there is a long list of complaints at the police station but, by the time we get to that point, the abuse has already taken place and I said it will be good to begin to find out what are the mothers thinking and where is the insecurity that provides an environment where a three-year-old baby can be raped,” VP Howard-Taylor added. “What are we doing with our children, what kinds of doors are we opening that permit people to abuse their children?”
VP Taylor was scolded by many feminists and child rights activists for her remarks made months ago, which essentially called out poor parenting as the root cause of abuse against minors.
However, she later clarified that her comments were intended to call on parents to look after their children well to avoid sexual abuse.
“What I meant was, we should begin to look a little more careful at our children. If you can bear a child and carry it for nine months, you are responsible for that child until that child becomes an adult. We must close the gaps in our homes, close the gaps in our communities,” said VP Howard-Taylor.
VP Howard-Taylor went on to say every parent is responsible to protect and guiding their children from abuse and because the parent has failed the result is rape.
The Vice President reiterated her remarks at a recent workshop organized by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping (KAIPTC) for Civil Society organizations, county authorities, and the media.
The week-long workshop aims to enhance participants’ knowledge and skills, as well as shape attitudes and foster a regime of teamwork and collaboration among local actors to effectively prevent and respond to Gender-based violence (GBV) in Liberia.
It also fits into KAIPTC's larger goals of strengthening African capacity to fully implement the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Right of Women in Peace and Security in the context of Africa, with a specific focus to assist member states to eliminate gender-based violence.
The training is in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). It is important to also note that the workshop fits into the CRS’ strategic mission to promote human development by responding to major emergencies, poverty, violence against women and also nurturing peaceful and just societies across the world,” the organizers said.