Despite the passing into law of a Domestic Violence Act and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issuance of executive order 92 which seeks to end violence against women and female genital mutilations, it would seem Liberia is still far away from overcoming the menace.
Already, statistics from the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) shows an increase in the wave of violence against women with 81.6 percent (1,496) accounting for sexual violence cases recorded from January-October, 2018, while 63.5 percent (1,176) for rape.
But one group working to change the narratives is the Girls for Change (GFC), a not for profit organization working to empower and build the capacity of teenage mothers and young women across communities.
The group, through its ‘Enough Campaign’ – a Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs program, encourages young women to take up leadership roles and conducts training on reporting Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases.
“It is a two-month project under OXFAM that basically looks at the issue of domestic violence and rape against women and girls in the community. And currently, GFC is implementing the project in collaboration with The Paramount Young Women Initiative in two Counties, Montserrado and Lower Margibi”, Project Manager Oretha T. Lah- Bangurah mentioned.
“assessment done from the initial stage of the project reveals that rape and domestic violence is on the increase in those communities. We found out that there are lots of rape cases that go unpunished mainly because there is no support system for victims. So our program trains young people on how to report and set the referral system for rape cases”.
“We want to use the program to change the perception of female leadership. We want to empower women to be the voice for their peers in the communities. We have established 4 different problem solving and innovative clubs in these two counties. Those clubs serve as advocates for women and youth on the issues of rape and domestic violence”, she said
At the end of the program, she said
“We anticipate reaching out to over 250 indirect and 50 direct beneficiaries. And we will reach to 10 promising women that we can utilize at women leadership where they will take on the different roles to support other women and encourage them”.
Culled from Monrovia Times