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Editorial

Open-Mindedness to Formal, Informal Media a Better Approach to Fighting GBV and Rape

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At the recent launch of the 16 days of activism against gender-basedviolence in Liberia, the country’s Minister of Gender, Children andSocial Protect announced the total of 1088 GBV cases across Liberia.

Of the 1088 cases for 2016, about 588 rape cases were recorded, with293 involving children below age 16. Such alarming rate is only indicative of our inability to ensure thenecessary mechanisms to sustain the fight against such heartlessviolence to success.

Perhaps, that’s why during this year’s observance of the 16 Days ofActivism, organized by the Ministry of Gender, Children and SocialProtection in collaboration with partners, President EllenJohnson-Sirleaf re-echoed the urgent need for stronger and effectiveaffirmative actions to fight sexual and gender-based violence againstwomen, girls and children.

Moreover, President Sirleaf stressed that the campaign must begin athomes, churches, organizations, as well as other places, where parentshave an obligation to protect their children. “In the schools, churches and homes,” the Liberian leader said,“everyone must join in efforts to protect children.”

“Those of us responsible for the three branches of government, asleaders of government, will go back with all that have been said, andbe able to look at it and see what does it mean for us; what can we doto make sure,” she said, also admonishing the head of NationalTraditional Council of Liberia, Chief ZanzanKarwon, to ensure thatthe well-being of the members of Poro and Sandi societies areobserved, managed and monitored.

Such holistic approach, as admonished by the Liberian Leader, may go along way in the battle against GBV; but we are of the fervent beliefthat the media and informal media components, including vigorouscommunity outreach, would make the campaign more result-oriented.

While the forerunners of the campaign may have the commitment, theissue of open-mindedness in dealing with these media institutions,especially the community radio network and informal media such as theLiberia Media for Democratic Initiatives or LMDI and Talking Drum Studio must be seriously considered if and only if we as people areserious to ‘win’ this fight against GBV.

Just as the president may be prioritizing this campaign, the need formembers of the legislature and Judiciary to do same publicly cannotalso be over-emphasized.For us, such holistic approach by us all will sustain deterrence.

Additionally, those who perpetrate rape or would-be rapists must alsobe made never to repeat same or think about such by the actions taken against them other than mere imprisonment.

In other words, the law must be re-enforced to scare such heartless individuals. We do believe that when considered, these measures/mechanisms willdiminish the alarming rate of rape cases across Liberia. 

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