A group of protesters including women and men have accused some officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) of allegedly requesting money from the parents of rape victims to facilitate the arrest and investigation of perpetrators here.
The protesters under the banner Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) were at the LNP Headquarters on Capitol Hill Thursday, 20 August to present to police authorities a statement containing accusations against some police investigators.
The protesters made the claims at a time cases of rape and other sexual gender – based violence continue to rise in the country, with troubling reports emerging of how kids as low as three years or below are being victimized as well.
“We want cases to be reported, and once they are reported, that the police be very supportive through investigation and effecting arrest of the alleged rapist void of putting additional trauma on the survivors and their parents, guardians and or activist or social workers,” Madam Eliza Dahn of WONGOSOL says.
Reading the group’s petition, Madam Eliza Dahn tells Deputy Police Inspector General for Operations (102) Col. Marvin Sackor to warn his officers not to ask rape survivors for money.
“Our attention has been drawn to the growing complaint from parents and guardians for the payment of money to constable or arresting officers to facilitate the arrest of perpetrators and the investigation of crime scenes,” Madam Dahn claims.
She also urges Col. Sackor to instruct his officers to speedily conduct preliminary investigations into reported case and forward the perpetrators to court as per the law.
Madam Dahn continues that women advocates have been working for decade to break the silence on rape and all form of sexual violence in the country.
However she notes that consistently the majority of rape and sexual -based violence cases are unlikely to end in arrest and as a result, unlikely to end in conviction.
She further explains that the narrative is changing and they need the Liberia National Police as a partner in the fight so as to stop or prevent further more women, girls, or children from getting their future damaged by ensuring that the evil perpetrators face the wrath of the law.
Madam Dahn discloses that a total of 1,251 sexual violence cases were reported from across the country during the period of January to May 2020.
Compared to 2019, Madam Dahn indicates that the statistics show that during the period of January to May 2019, there were about 900 cases reported.
Unfortunately she says 90 percent of the survivors were children, noting that the statistical trend on sexual violence from the sexual gender – based violence crimes unit shows that rape is the recurrent SGBV crime committed against women and girls in Liberia.
Madam Dahn adds that in 2018, approximately 2,145 cases of sexual violence case were reported with 98 percent females and 6 percent were males, while in 2019, 2,590 cases were reported with 91 percent females and 9 percent males.
According to her, the trending data also shows that sodomy rape against boys is gradually on the rise.
“Approximately thirty two cases were prosecuted from January to June 2020, this is an analysis from the sexual gender – based violence crimes unit at the Ministry of Justice for the period of May 2020. The problem of rape and sexual gender – based violence cases attrition persists,” Eliza Dahn laments.
Receiving the petition, Police Deputy Inspector General for Operations Col. Marvin Sackor thanks the group for its level of maturity shown while assembling at the police headquarters to present a petition.
Mr. Sackor asks members of the group to come with their pictorial and video evidence any time officers of the Liberia National Police request parents or survivors for money before handling a case.
Col. Sackor notes that officers that are involved in such practice will be dealt with according to the law.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley