FeJAL Worries About Increasing Wave Of Violence Against Women, Girls
The Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) says it is troubled by the increasing wave of sexual and gender-based violence and other forms of harmful practices across Liberia while the government watches supinely and does nothing to bring perpetrators to book or provide security for the survivors.
FeJAL’s concern comes against the backdrop that inhumane acts, as sexual violence, are being meted against females while the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection proudly documents the incidents without taking tangible actions, as if they are achievements of government.
“Just quite recently, it was reported that a 24-year-old woman in Guluma Village, Zorzor District, Lofa County, was tortured by her significant other—a situation that left the survivor unconscious after spending the entire day in foot-cuffed detention. She was detained on ground that she and her spouse had a fight in the middle of the town which, according to the report, is a gross violation of the rules governing the town,” a FeJAL release noted.
“The 24-year-old woman has been unable to walk since then due to the cuff placed on her legs while the spouse was left un-touched because the rules do not apply to men.
“Another case of torture involved a young woman who was flogged in the Lofa Bridge Community, Grand Cape Mount County, on ground that she had refused to be a part of their traditional ceremony, an act they see as total disrespect and disobedience to the tradition; as such, the zoes and elders ordered her flogged.
“The violations continued with the gang rape of a 12-year-old girl in Charlesville, Margibi County; a gang rape of a 19-year-old girl in the Fendell Community, Montserrado County; an 11-year-old girl raped by a 51-year-old man in River Gee County; and an 8-year-old girl raped in Grand Cape Mount County, amongst others,” FeJAL noted.
The Association noted that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has recorded 963 cases, of which 667 are rape cases and 43 are cases of gang rape. The group said the Ministry of Justice has also confirmed over 600 reported cases of domestic violence, including early child and forceful marriage, coupled with non-persistent child support since the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the subsequent declaration of the State of Emergency (SOE) by President George Manneh Weah.
The Association said it is saddening that duty bearers and policymakers are bent on politicking the fight against gender-based violence and using it as a political tool to gain votes from women groupings and their supporters during electoral seasons, which the December 8, 2020 senatorial by-election is of no exception.
“Let us remind the stakeholders, including the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, that the criminal courts have opened for their August Term. All those interested must follow closely to ensure that many of these reported cases are placed on the docket and as well do follow up on how many will reach its logical conclusion, in order to report how government is handling the rising menace instead of just documenting these inhumane acts,” the group said.