The Analyst (Monrovia)

30 November 2012

Liberia: Min Cassell Rates Rape Above All Other GBV Cases

The Minister of Gender and Development, Julia Duncan Cassell, says statistics from counties revealed that rape is the highest form of gender-based violence in Liberia, as it constitutes about 55% of 1,687 case reported between the period of January to September 2012.

Addressing a news conference at the weekend to coincide with the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence held at the Ministry of Gender and Development, Mrs. Cassell said 1,232 or 73% of the total number of survivors are children.

Mrs. Cassell indicated that while it is true that rape is mostly reported, there are also a huge number of domestic violence cases that are not reported to the police because they are compromised, treated as family cases and not reported at all.

She noted that reporting of domestic violence cases is as low as 19.7% of the total of number of GBV cases reported while the increase in domestic violence is eating away the fabrics of the society. He said persistent non-support and abandonment of families as well as child abuse could be contributing factors to the rise of in the number of street children.

Mrs. Cassell added that in the wake of this information, there is a need to revisit the approach to addressing sexual and gender based violence, adding that there should be tough legislations and legal procedures on rape, and a strong response to supporting victims.

She reiterated that emphasis on judiciary and police trainings is a commitment to preventing or controlling sexual violence which should be prioritized through speedy, effective and fair trials of these cases.

The Gender Ministry boss anticipated that there should be effective measures put in place to ensure that perpetrators of rape and domestic violence are named and shamed and that they do not go with impunity.

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