At the official launch of Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender-based violence and anti- rape campaign in Paynesville recently, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf urged family members, teachers, religious leaders, the media and general public to join the battle for the eradication of sexual and gender-based violence in the country.
She also challenged the Association of all Female Lawyers of Liberia or AFELL to play a more active role in the fight against SGBV in Liberia. President Sirleaf reaffirmed her administration’s commitment to battling SGBV and noted that the Government of Liberia has done its best in putting an end to this ugly act in the past years, emphasizing that with all that the government has done in the process, the crime was still on the increase in the country.
The President reiterated her call on the judiciary to step up its efforts in prosecuting perpetrators of sexual gender base violence in the country, admonishing the court system to be more vigorous, efficient and speedy in its actions to punish those involved in this mess.
It is an open fact that the President may just be alarmed by the current and uncontrollable rate at which the violence is being perpetrated.
We do believe that violence against women, most especially rape, is on the increase in the country because of the weakness in the judicial system, poor awareness on the part of those who claim to be into advocacy, as well as the absence of harsher punishments for those who commit such crimes.
We are also of the fervent belief that if awareness/sensitization by civil society and other advocacy group were only being done sincerely in accordance with the various project proposals and not because of the cash involved, SBGV would be either eradicated or at a very minimum level in our country by now.
Rape and other forms of violence against women may be on the rise because very little is being done, in terms of impact in our respective communities by most of our brothers and sisters in the NGO business, whose primary and only concern at the moment is to amass cash for wealth.
While we do join Madam President in urging the judicial system, family members, as well as teachers and others to be steadfast in the fight against rape and other forms of violence against women, we must also challenge local NGOs and advocates working under the guise of battling SGBV not to use this campaign as a “money-making thing” as we continue to see around here.
This is why we continue to admonish donor institutions not only to monitor these groups in communities they claim to be working, but to quietly follow up reports they submit to them regarding project implementation and successes.
We say this because we are fully aware of what’s obtaining in our local NGO setting nowadays-the impacts of projects in our various communities are lacking, and the only way the worth of donor’s monies can be realized is through follow up investigations, unknown to the so-called partners here.