17 December 2012

Liberia: 'Gender Based Violence Deserves Everybody's Attentions' - Campaigner

The Coordinator of the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Unit at the Ministry of Gender and Development, Madam Deddeh Kwekwe has called on every Liberian to take the issue of GBV seriously in order to prevent violence against women and children.

"GBV is everybody's business, thus community members must also play their roles, the media have to play their roles, as all should not be left with the government alone, because government may not be able to address the situation at once," Madam Kwekwe stated.

She said some community members have to stand against child rape, domestic violence and all forms of GBV. When this is done, Madam Kwekwe believes will help to reduce or end GBV in the Liberian society.

Speaking to this paper last week at the end of 16 days of activism, Madam Kwekwe said it is her hope that Liberians will positively respond to GBV preventive campaign messages that were carried out across the country during the period of the activism.

In an effort to end violence against women, Madam Kwekwe expressed the need for the Ministry, in collaboration with partners and other groups such as Journalist against Sexual and Gender Based Violence, religious groups to actively network to address GBV problems in Liberia.

Madam Kwekwe: "We have observatories in all 15 counties. They are community people working to create awareness on SGBV and also help to report GBV cases to the Ministry. She cited child rape as one of the GBV cases that is on the increase in the country.

"The issue of child rape is actually on the rise, about 68% of rape cases reported are done against children between the ages of three months to 13 years. But the Ministry and partners have been meeting to put together a strategy to tackle child rape, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. There are other child protection groups that are working along with the Gender Ministry in the protection of children against rape," Madam Kwekwe added.

According to her, the Ministry is also working with traditional leaders to make sure that those harmful traditional practices against children are stopped. She said the Ministry is trying its best to create free environment for children to be able to communicate with people about what affects them.

The 16 days of activism is a time set aside to create awareness and to strategize on the prevention on GBV, and intended to seek the interests of women and to end violence against them.

The 16 days of activism began with an official program on November 25th, at the Samuel K. Doe Sport Complex. It was climaxed on December 10 with a closing ceremony in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

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