Ms. Pauline F. Gartor, who is also a Girl Advocacy Alliance (GAA) Ambassador, observed that Liberia’s justice system is getting weaker by the day in handling sexual and gender-based violence cases, adding hundreds of girls and young women continueto be raped, sexually exploited and abuse and denied access to educational opportunity with impunity.
She made the call recently at the opening of a one-day Defense for Children International Liberia (DCI-Liberia) sponsored advocacy and leadership training workshop for members of the NCYAB and community based organizations in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.
The training was part of the GAA initiative. It focused on advocacy for the rights of girls to be free from child marriage, sexual violence and abused; ensure girls and young womenhave equal access to post primary education and, equal access to technical vocational education training (TVET). An economic empowerment opportunity for girls and young women in Bomi County was also considered.
“The laws that are on the book like the Liberian Children’s Law and the Anti-Rape Law are just what they are-laws on the book-there is no effective enforcement and because of this violent crime against vulnerable girls and young women continue to be on increase on across the country,” she said.
She added that “just in three months in Montserrado County alone more than two girls were rape to death. It troubles us to see that less than five cases of gender based violence including rape goes to court monthly when in fact there are new cases reported every day from across the country.
According to the girl’s right advocate, a strong executive will beyond programs and campaign against would be perpetrators will help reduce widespread domestic violence, rape and other forms of sexual violence against girls and young women including practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriage.
“Some time we get frustrated to see that despite the government and the international community and development partners continued investment in sexual and gender based violence units, located at various police stations and government agency including specialized court to investigate sexual abuse we still do not see cases going to court in huge numbers least to talk about conviction. So it is time for President George MannehWeah who is our feminist-in-chief and First Lady ClaraWeah to ensure that all cases of rape and gender based violence reach the court for speedy trial,” she, among other things, emphasized.