Buchanan, Grand Bassa County - The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the National Gender Based Violence task force have conducted its annual Gender Based Violence Taskforce Retreat at the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
The retreat was aimed at curtailing the many dangers domestic violence poses in the society.
The retreat was also to identify ways of working differently as a taskforce to promote zero tolerance of GBV including SGBV and o identify ways to strengthen measures that address or respond to issues of GVB including SGBV.
The Gender Based Violence taskforce was established in 2006 by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and is intended at coordinating the activities of Gender Based Violence nationwide.
Members of the Gender Based Violence taskforce is comprises of representatives of government line ministries and agencies, national and international non-governmental organizations, Civil Society Organizations and also the United Nations Country team.
Despite the domestic violence act passed by the national legislatures and pending President Sirleaf’s signature, the Director for Gender Based Violence Division at the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection Deddeh Kwekwe wants a more robust action taken toward domestic violence and not sexual gender based violence alone.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa, Madam Kwekwe disclosed that because of the attentions toward rape cases; many people are focused on domestic violence even though incidences are growing on a daily basis.
“There are things under the domestic violence that people really pay less attention to; they don’t know it to be violence, but we can’t blame them because we need to do more awareness for them to know that it is domestic violence”, Madam Kwekwe said.
Nonsupport and abandonment of family according to the Director for Gender Based Violence Division at the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection had been given a deaf ear by many in the country.
Madam Kwekwe added: “Those are all issue of domestic violence but if you look around most of the time people don’t think that it is domestic violence they just think it is a normal life.”
With the coming in of the domestic violence law Madam Kwekwe is hopeful that the issue of abandonment of family and persistence nonsupport, and the issue of compromising rape cases will be addressed.
“The domestic violence is taking a lot of different trends. We did not have the issue of acid attack before but now we started having that coming into being. Acid attack is now another form of domestic violence”, she cited.
Madam Kwekwe said the two day retreat will enable the taskforce to come out with a specify action plan on how to execute the domestic violence law which is now before the president for her signature.
“We just don’t want this law to be like another law to be sitting there”, she said.
Madam Kwekwe continues: “We want to see it moving, working, and then someone can say yes this thing was happening but it has come to an end because of this domestic violence law.”
Also speaking, the Country Representative of the UN-Women Marie Goreth Nizigama appreciated the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the GBV Task Force and Line Ministries for the efforts in ensuring that survivors of Gender Based Violence receive the necessary support and have access to services including access to justice.
She added that the two days’ retreat will provides an opportunity for sober reflection on their programming strategies in the prevention and response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence inclusive of Harmful Cultural Practices.
“Today, Liberia is at a crossroad. With the return to stability, the gains made in the socio-economic and political life of this great nation is constantly hampered by the escalating cases of sexual and gender based violence and the prevalence of harmful traditional practices (HTP) including child marriages and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)”, the UN-WOMEN Country Representative said.
She added that the rates of GBV, particularly rape and domestic violence as well as forced initiation and child marriage, remain high despite continuous efforts by the Government of Liberia and Partners.
“363 GBV cases in the 1st quarter of 2017 with 206 of these are rape cases must claim our attention and a need for action”, she cited.
Madam Nizigama added: “This retreat should provide a platform for a coordinated approach to dealing with this humiliating and violent act perpetrated against our women and children in Liberia.”