Monrovia – Minister of Gender and Social Protection, Williametta Saydee-Tarr says there is a need to strengthen community ownership in the fight to eradicate Gender- Based Violence ahead of the launch of the 16- Day of Activism Against Sexual Gender Based Violence.
The 16 Days of Activism which starts on November 25 is an annual campaign that reinforces, elevates, and collaborates efforts to end all forms of violence against women and girls.
By Jaheim T. Tumu
This year’s campaign is the 31st year of the 16 Days of Activism globally and the 21st commemoration of the campaign in Liberia.
Globally, it would be observed under the theme: “UNITE! Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls” while Liberia will commemorate the day under a National theme: “With One Voice, let’s End Violence Against Women, Girls and Children”.
Speaking at the pre-launch, Minister Tarr highlighted the need to strengthen collaboration with local and international partners and to create a platform for public awareness about what needs to change to prevent GBV from occurring at local, national and regional levels.
She encouraged activists to focus on the issues that are most pertinent to local context during the campaign and harness a concerted effort to ensure awareness across the fifteen (15) counties in the prevention of SGBV and other forms of violence against women, including Female genital mutilation (FGM) and Child Marriage.
Minister said, “We would like to highlight that other forms of domestic violence, especially denial of resources, persistent non-support, abandonment of families by the sole provider of that family, child abuse and sexual abuse by parents/guardians are some of the reasons for the rise in child prostitution, teenage pregnancy and other social exclusions.”
“These forms of violence, which have not been noticed as grave contributing factors, are eating up the fabrics of the Liberian Society and gradually destroying the future of our young generation whilst also serving as barriers to women and girls reaching their full potential.”
She added, “Negative and patriarchal cultural practices and beliefs are also major underlying factors in defining perceptions and attitudes.
She, however, said despite the CDC-led government making significant gains, there are numerous factors tied into the task faced by the country in eradicating SGBV across the country.
Accordingly, she said in 2021, a total number of 1,761 SGBV cases were reported of which 68.08% (1,199) accounted for Rape, Gang Rape and Sodomy, while 32% (562) accounted for other forms of GBV cases. 76% out of the 97.4% were survivors below the age of 18 years, while the latest SGBV’s data covering the period January to September 2022, shows a margining decline in the number of SGBV’s cases reported with 1,414 GBV cases were recorded.
“These issues require the commitment of time, talent and financial resources. As a nation, I believe that we can end Sexual and Gender Based Violence by first uniting. Once we can ignite a sense of purpose, our society will soon become one where our people can live, grow and prosper,” she said.
Making brief remarks, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Africa on Female Genital Mutilation, Jaha Dukureh reemphasized called to invest in communities.
According to her, there is a need to support traditional leaders that they should know that there are other ways of making money without violating the rights of other human beings.
Said Madam Dukureh, “We also need to show that other people can contribute to these conversations and we need to show that Africans can lead into issues that impact our lives.”
Adding, “I think we need to have a holistic approach when it comes to ending the issue of violence against women and girls. And we need to understand that not a single person can do it and it takes a collective effort.”