ActionAid staffers at Duala Market disseminating the SGBV campaign on Thursday, December 5, 2019.
The 16-Days of Activism against Sexual Gender-based Violence (SGBV) might have started a fortnight ago, but a cause for concern is whether the messages to end violence against women are resonating across the country to many people.
The 16-Days is an annual international campaign that began on November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and girls. It will run to December 10, which marks Human Rights Day.
ActionAid Liberia, which kicked off their own SGBV awareness on Wednesday, December 4, and continued on Thursday, December 5, 2019, will reach out to several other marketplaces.
However, reaching out to the target audience, especially to where they are, is a mission that ActionAid Liberia has begun by taking SGBV awareness to marketplaces in Montserrado County.
ActionAid Liberia's Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Soko Kamara, told newsmen on Thursday, December 5, in Duala Market that the campaign is to increase knowledge on women's rights on SGBV, and also access justice for adequate response and integration of gender response and public services.
"As part of the 16-Days of Activism, ActionAid decided to engage in market awareness, ensuring that women from the different markets are informed and educated about their rights. We have realized that some women, who are totally involved with business activities, don't know their way out whenever their rights are violated, due to their continued market schedules," Kamara said.
He said most women do not believe that domestic and economic violence can be perpetrated against them, so they allow their rights to be violated.
ActionAid staff explain different forms of violence against women and girls in Liberia.
"We want the women to understand their rights; this is why we designed different messages taking into consideration the theme for this year, "Curtailing Gender-based Violence in the World of Work," Kamara said.
As such, he said, women have to be respected, regardless of their statuses, "because they help to also support the home."
Mr. Kamara said the awareness has already covered markets in Old Road, Parker Paint, Red Light, Duala and Mechlin Street.
He added, "We also have a similar program at our various offices in the counties, targeting marketplaces with particular message on SGBV education."
Mr. Kamara attributed the increase in the cases of violence against women to "culture of silence, a system where some people take women as personal property due primarily to lack of education of women's rights."
He said: "These are all contributing factors for violence against women."
Kamara then called for total collaboration between partners and national government, to arrest the situation of violence against women and girls, noting, "This cannot be done in isolation, but to continue working together to complement government's efforts."
"ActionAid Liberia hopes to see a reduction in how people think about women's rights being respected. We want to see men treating women as equal partners who men should give their support in everything," Mr. Kamara added.
Haja Sirleaf, Superintendent of Duala Market, lauded ActionAid for the awareness but called for respect between a woman and a man.