Her Voice Liberia Bemoans the Lack of Strong State Actions to Protect Liberia Women and Girls against Increased Violence and Abuse


MONROVIA – Her Voice Liberia, a local human rights organization is saddened by the increase in the wave of violence against women and girls and the limited actions by the Government to ensure justice.

In a statement issued in Monrovia in the aftermath of an autopsy report into the death of the late Princess Cooper indicating that the victim died of tuberculosis, prompted an outcry from activists which has led to a second autopsy and the gruesome murder of another young woman in Ganta, Nimba County. According to Her Voice, while the Pathologist’s report regarding Princess Cooper is yet to be confirmed by a second autopsy, the circumstances surrounding the death of Princess are likely to be a result of a violent encounter. The Pathologist’s report signals a lack of interest in addressing the gaps and details regarding those circumstances, attributing the death to “natural causes”.

Her Voice says the wave of violence against women and girls remains widespread despite the Liberian government’s claims and pledge to address SGBV as a priority. Limited actions from Government to ensure adequate and timely access to justice is enabling perpetrators to believe they can continue to commit barbaric acts against women and girls and get away with impunity. Her Voice is therefore calling on State security institutions mainly the Liberian National Police to do away with passive investigations into crimes committed against women and also calling on the Judiciary to speedily hear and decide cases involving violence against women.

Her Voice Liberia Executive Director, Cllr. Margaret M. Nigba also stressed the lack of protection mechanism in place for victims and witnesses. Reports of the lack of DNA machines and effective protection mechanisms such as Safe homes, psychosocial support, Legal Aid, and assistance for survivors and their families contribute to fear of reprisal and insecurity for those who may want to report violations. As such when crimes are committed against women, many women will be afraid to come to public for fear of reprisal from the same perpetrators who live in the same community as their victims. This is evident in Sinoe County where a man used super glue to seal the vagina of his lover who later refused to go to Court for fear that she could be targeted by family members of the perpetrators within the community.

In the absence of effective protection mechanisms for victims who come public with their stories and that of witnesses, Cllr. Nigba says women will continue to live in pain with the scars of abuse for many years. Liberian women and girls deserve to live a life free from violence and abuse and need to be protected by the State as a priority in actions beyond public statements and pledges.