Liberia’s VP Holds First Boys Confab Protecting Girls from Sexual Violence
Monrovia – In continuation of the 16 days of activism, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor on Monday held a conference with over 200 boys from various school attending. The gathering focused on how boys can protect girls against sexual gender-based violence and sexual abuse.
The program was held under the theme “Real Men don’t rape” where several panel discussions were held on the physical and psychological effect of rape of victims and decent men who know what it takes to be a real man.
Mahmoud Koroma, UN Women program specialist, encouraged young boys to keep a focus on their education, as girls will always be around to love them.
According to him, boys should be always prepared to protect girls from sexual violence in their respective communities and schools.
Cecelia Danuweli, an independent Human Rights Advocate, said there is a need to include boys in sexual dialogues as it will help broaden their knowledge on SGBV.
She said too many attentions have been placed on girls and with the participation of boys; a lot of programs can be initiated to send forth the message on sexual violence.
T. Nelson Williams, former managing director of Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC), said tackling SGBV cannot be done without the involvement of boys, men, and parents.
“You boys must serve as ambassador in spreading the message of rape through the country,” Williams said.
Former Information Minister Dr. Lawrence Bropleh said “it is time that boys serve as an agent for change in protection girls and women from violence”.
The Director for Sexual Gender Based-Violence at the Ministry of Gender Children Social protection, Deddeh Kwekwe urged the schoolboys to respectively establish SGBV clubs in school so as to discuss the effect of sexual violence.
She added that many times sexual harassment and sexual abuse have been overlooked due to the Legislature failed to pass the domestic bill.
Some of the schools that attended the conference include Muslim Congress, Don Bosco Technical High School, Assembly of God on Buchanan Street and Gray D. Allison amongst others.
Daoda Sow, a 9th grader of Muslim Congress said, “I am happy to be here and today I have learned that men should protect women and us as men also our future leaders.
“If we see they are abused by someone we should protect and take care of them, so from today on, I will take care of Liberian women,” He said.
Yusuf Fofana, a 12th grader of Noah Ark added: “We should protect all women and girls because that is our responsibility and we as boys shouldn’t infringe on their rights and take advantage of them.”