Monrovia — In the recent alleged domestic violence case, reported by this newspaper, involving an employee of the Liberia Revenue Authority, (LRA), Mr. Patrick Hover, the entity has condemned and has taken a stance on the matter.
Mr. Thomas Doe Nah's LRA has asked Hover to step aside while the investigation is ongoing. Hover is alleged to have poured hot, boiled water on his girlfriend, which resulted in the girl's skin being seriously sored.
"Our staff are guided by a Code of Conduct that requires all staff to act ethically and responsibly in dealings with other staff and with the public. Mr. Patrick Hover - a staff of the LRA, who allegedly poured hot water on his fiancé, has been removed from his position while he undergoes investigation by the police," he said.
In a press release posted on social media, Nah said, "The LRA doesn't condone violence against women and anyone for that matter.
"The Professional Ethics Division (PED) and Human Resource Department of the LRA are reviewing the allegations and will remain engaged with the police in this matter. We share the pain of the victim as no one must be subjected to such experience," the statement said.
The alleged perpetrator, who is said to have been released on bond from the Monrovia Central Prison late last Friday evening, is yet to be indicted by the City Magisterial Court neither has he been rearrested. Women groups fear he could haunt the victim, now that he is out of job.
"We continue to emphasize the urgent need for survivor's care through different advocacy activities. According to reports, the alleged abuser/suspect is out on bail. The survivor is also out. Both of them are in the community, see how it puts the survivor in harm's way and exposes her to more risks of being further harmed. So when we say the government needs to improve response to survivors of SGBV. This is another clear example like the many other cases that normally don't reach the media or the police," said Ms. Facia Harris, Executive Coordinator of Paramount Young Women Initiative.
Ms. Harris further said that safe homes that were there to shelter such victims are now underfunded and literally non-functional across the country. She disclosed further that survivors do not seek justice for fear of their lives, while many of them struggle through the justice system as well. She further stated that many survivors walk long hours to get to police stations that are understaffed and are unable to even report because police officers do not have any form of transportation and if they have, they usually complain of no fuel.
"Survivors often have to seek medical care at their own expense. As I speak, I am also more concerned about the psychosocial needs of the survivor: remember she has to go to and fro from court, with the wounds inflicted on her and may even have to face her alleged perpetrator. We have seen that this is a test of the Domestic Violence Law passed last year," she said.
Madam Caroline Bowah of Medica Liberia also said the situation of violence against women is alarming and occurs in communities and homes around the country. "So this is not just about the LRA employee issue as reported by some media outlets. This is evidence of the situation in the country, that even with the passage of the Domestic Violence Act, more cases are still surfacing," Ms. Bowah said. Recalling the passage of the Act, she noted that the act gives legal provision in protecting women and girls from being violated, yet the menace continues unabated. "As feminist/woman's rights activists, we have declared violence against women as a state of emergency as we said last year during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism. These acts of violence are enabled by the lack of accountability and a legal system that doesn't work. We see alleged perpetrators go scot free." When asked about the safety of women under threat, she said there are inadequate safe spaces for women and girls. Commenting on the action taken by the LRA boss Doe-Nah, she applauded him for taking the action he took against the alleged perpetrator. "I read Commissioner Thomas Doe Nah's statement on social media. I think that was a good step in taking such administrative actions that the man stays away from his job until the matter is resolved," she said.
Meanwhile, various radio talk shows have been discussing the case of victim Bernice, who still seeks justice.
For the first time after her incident, Bernice had so much joy in her voice, when she said via mobile that concern citizens from the US and Liberia, have been reaching out to render help one way or the other since the publication of the story.
"Thanks to FrontPageAfrica; since the story came out, I have been receiving many calls from people in the United States and Liberia, who have promised to help treat me," said Bernice.