4 October 2017

Liberia: Hike in Gender Based Violence

Gender base violence against women is said to be on the increase in Totoquelleh, Gbarpolu County.

Acts perpetrated against women in the town remain a serious concern to the Assistant Town Chief and elders. Totoquelleh is the home town of the incumbent representative Alfred G. Koiwood.

According to the Assistant Town Chief, Gbolu Koiwood, women are beaten daily by their husbands as a means of disciplinary measures for wrongful deeds. The wrongful deeds include: denial of their partner during sexual affairs, speaking loud in public and getting involve in political events, which are not the chosen candidates of their husbands.

Madam Koiwood pointed out that the violation of women's rights in the area is common.

She pointed that most of the women in the town have not been to school, something she said is contributing to unwholesome acts committed against them.

"The cases we judge here everyday are many, especially violence against women", Koiwood noted.

However, she said most of the cases are compromised and settled as family matters due to the implications on the towns' traditions and norms.

Totoquelleh, which is one of the biggest towns in Gbarpolu district #1, comprises of over three thousand five hundred (3,500) residents.

Emmanuel Jangaba Gbessay, who is the town chief of Totoquelleh, feels that there is a need to create more awareness on the women's rights in order to reduce gender violence against the women.

He confirmed the continuous violation of women's rights in the town, but pointed out the tradition is solely responsible.

Chief Gbessay lauded the efforts of women for constantly reporting violence cases in spite of traditional norms and practices.

"We want to thank the women in the town for always exposing the bad things that can happen in their homes and we will always talk to the men to stop the act because it is not good", Chief Gbessay added.

Liberia has signed to many international treaties and conventions for the protection of women and girls rights.

According to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the "Maputo Protocol"), the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women's equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life -- including the right to vote and to stand for election -- as well as education, health and employment.

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender, Development and Social Protection launched a five- year National Plan of Action on GBV (2011 -2015) for prevention.

The prevention of GBV calls for a significant shift in the value system of individuals and communities.

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