Liberia: It’s Time for the ‘Feminist-in-Chief to Stand and Deliver

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WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS of life have been screaming for attention to the rapidly growing incidents of rape and abuse of young girls, whose adolescence are being stolen and robbing them of a normal upbringing.

NOT A DAY goes by, where there’s not a report of babies and young women between the ages of four to fourteen-years-old being raped and abuse.

YOUNG GIRLS as young as ten-years-old getting pregnant, fathers raping their four-year-old, and an entire nation standing aside, watching the spectacle as helpless young girls are castrated of their lives.

VICTIMS’ SUPPORT is non-existent and as a result parents and relatives, openly allowing victims of abuse to suffer because the perpetrators in some instances are breadwinners of the family.

WHEN JOHNSON CHULUTY WAS sentenced to twenty years on prison after confessing to the rape of his 15-year-old stepdaughter, authorities says, his wife, Mary, known to many as “Ma Mary” in the Johnsonville area’s main concern was, who will take care of she and her family.

IN MOST CASES, when cases get to trial, witnesses and victims are nowhere to be found, some out of fear, others simply afraid that speaking out against their victim could mean, an end to survival.

WHILE A LOT  of attention is being placed on the government, sensitization of this issue is crucial if Liberia is to beat the rape pandemic.

DESPITE THE CHALLENGES, some inroads are being made. This week, Johnson Chuluty, 20, who raped his stepdaughter was sentenced the twenty years in prison while Darius Chum was sentenced to fifteen years over the 2018 rape of an underage girl in Clara Town. Two more will be handed down on Friday at the Criminal Court “E”, Temple of Justice.

Rape is an apolitical issue which requires an apolitical response. Government cannot allow itself to be fooled into thinking that it can ride around this issue with impunity. More importantly, President Weah cannot allow his advisors to ill-advise him about shunning the cries of women across the country, angry over the manner in which their daughters are being raped and abused.

TODAY, A TOTAL of there are approximately 327 sexual and gender-based violence in custody at the Monrovia Central Prison and 77 Convictions.

THE WEAH administration must begin to trumpet the gains being made and what it is doing to address the plight of rape victims; what plans are afoot to improve support for victims? How will those brave enough to speak about abuses be protected?

THE LIBERIAN PRESIDENCY HAS so far ignored the cries of women and President Weah, in our view has wasted a golden opportunity to validate his self-proclaimed “Feminist-in-Chief status.

ANY GOVERNMENT which has not grasped the importance of what the women of Liberia are experienced should not be in leadership position or within close proximity of the Liberian presidency.

FORMER PRESIDENT ELLEN Johnson-Sirleaf acknowledged, after showing solidarity with protesters Thursday: “Rape has always been a problem, it was before my administration, it was in my administration and it’s still with us today. The women, given the kinds of cases that have recently come up – young babies, three months old, young children, 10 years old violated, sometimes, by old men, sometimes by young men, is something that the women felt they had to act and they had to act in a manner in which one does in peaceful protest.”

EARLIER, NOBEL Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee descended on the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government and President Weah for the manhandling of a score of peaceful Liberians, mainly young women, protesting the escalating wave of rape cases across the country. In a statement posted on her official social media page following the incident, Madam Gbowee described the incident as “clamping down” on peaceful protesters.

MADAM GBOWEE lamented that the assault on protesters by officers of the Liberia National Police Thursday, declaring amounts to a “big shame on the Weah-led government”. She noted that it is unimaginable for government to use force on armless citizens who peacefully gathered against the unprecedented increase in the number of rape cases in the country.

SAID GBOWEE: “I woke up this morning to news of the government of Liberia clamping down on the peaceful protest organized by young people against the pervasive rape culture in Liberia. This is sick, appalling, and a big shame on the Weah-led administration. To teargas and use violence on a peaceful gathering led by women against a pandemic is beyond unimaginable”.

RAPE IS AN APOLITICAL issue which requires an apolitical response. Government cannot allow itself to be fooled into thinking that it can ride around this issue with impunity. More importantly, President Weah cannot allow his advisors to ill-advice him about shunning the cries of women across the country, angry over the manner in which their daughters are being raped and abused.

THE PRESIDENT, and self-proclaimed “Feminist-in-Chief” must stand and deliver and make his voice count when it matters most. The same vigor with which the President can passionately preach Sunday sermon at his Forky Kloh Church, is the same approach he must adopt to show Liberia and the world that he stands with women across Liberia on the issue of rape.

DURING HER PRESIDENCY, former President Sirleaf, in spite of her flaws, was fond of coming down from her car or her office to hear the cries of protesters. It would not have taken a piece of hair of the President to show some kind of solidarity with the women of Liberia.

NO MATTER WHAT his advisors told him over the past three days, President Weah must understand the gravity of what’s at stake. A total of 992 cases of rape in less than a year is no small figure to take for granted.

THIS IS THE TIME for leaders to stand up and be counted; this is the time to put all the politics aside for the common good. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

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