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West Point Women want strengthened action against SGBV

By Winston W. Parley

West Point Women for Health and Development Organization (WPWHDO) has called for strengthened and collaborative efforts in communities across Monrovia to help combat all forms of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV), alarming that both girls and boys are now being raped and at times, their cases unreported.

WPWHDO Executive Director Madam Nelly Cooper told an interview Thursday, 23 September 2021 in the township of West Point that a lot of men in targeted communities are still beating women and they don’t even know that the Liberian Government has passed a domestic violence law that could be used to jail those engaged in domestic violence.

“Our girl children are not even safe; even now the boys are equally being raped … so communities should rise up and let’s fight it together. We shouldn’t hide it. Whenever it happens to your child, please report it,” Madam Cooper said at West Point town hall.

She told the interview that a refresher workshop was organized for community dwellers from West Point, PHP, Coconut Plantation Communities, Ashmum, Front, and New Port Streets, respectively, to help educate residents from both genders about the law and how to prevent SGBV.

The WPWHDO Executive Director noted that the refresher workshop for 120 participants was organized to educate residents on the negative effects of SGBV, stating, “This identical workshop or dialogue here today is to tell them about the rape law and the domestic violence law.”

Madam Cooper disclosed that the workshop has been held multiple times this year but with different participants at each phase from the various communities to ensure that the message goes across to everyone.

Madam Cooper cautioned that it’s against the law to have sexual relations with a girl who is below eighteen years, saying even if her parents and community leaders are aware of the relationship, it does not save you from being charged and jailed for rape when caught.

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“Though she’s below 18, she’s accepted, we are living together, everybody, the community, everybody knows about it. They think it is okay, and the law is saying it is not. That is statutory rape and it’s a first-degree felony crime, so if you are caught or reported to the police station, you are going to jail,” she warned.

Additionally, she indicated that the workshop is meant to let the residents know about the referral pathway in reporting SGBV because people either hide SGBV cases to avoid stigma or at times, some do not even know how to go about reporting rape cases.

She stated that when you report SGBV case, you don’t just leave it to the police station and go, adding that West Point Women are ready to follow complainants foot-to-foot until the victims get redress.

She admonished residents not to bathe victims when they are raped, but to take them to the police station or a hospital where there is a one-stop center that has police, nurses, and counselors available to take the evidence of what has happened.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/west-point-women-end-seminar-on-sexual-and-gender-based-violence/

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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