Action Aid Liberia in collaboration with the Mano River Youth Parliament has officially launched a safe city campaign for violence against women in Liberia. The organization says women in the Liberian society face numerous challenges, including rape, sexual harassment and abuse, among others, noting that these attacks on women occur due to lack of proper protection.
Speaking Wednesday, 23 July during the official launch in the auditorium of the University of Liberia on Capitol Hill, Action Aid Liberia country director, Madam Korto Williams, said: “We as official of Action Aid Liberia want to make cities safe for women in this country, because the city belongs to everyone and its everyone’s right to live in especially to move around and enjoy the city lives without being afraid of any violence, harassment and abuse as faced by millions of women each day in their various communities.”
She explained that over 3.3 billion people now live in ever-growing cities and towns around the world, many of them women in rented rooms in slums communities, who rely on public toilets or open defecation and public bathrooms that are unsafe. She said most of these women risk being molested at work places, and face sexual harassment and violence from their supervisors either at the work place or on their way home from work.
According to her, women are also victims of violence at dark street corners and places where they are exposed to ambush and gang-rape, including traveling on overcrowded buses and taxis. The Action Aid boss also spoke of sexual harassment at schools and universities, involving teachers own demand sexual favors for grades, stressing, this must stop.
“We are saying that those days where women were relegated to the back seat are over; no one will ever ride over women again.” She added that women living in poverty are unable to enjoy their rights to the city and have little opportunity to be heard or change their situation, because complaining to police earns them ridicule and blame for what they wear or for being out at midnight.
“We are campaigning to change deeply embedded sexist attitudes and to make national governments, business leaders and individuals act now to end sexual violence against women in towns and cities as well as to end impunity of sex attackers, and provide safe and gender-responsive public services that build cities that are safe for women”, Madam Williams told reporters at the launch.