“Prioritize Rape Prevention over Punishment”- First Lady of Liberia Clar Weah tells National SGBV Confab
As posted on her official page
First Lady Clar Marie Weah is suggesting the need for more attention to be given to the prevention of rape and other forms of sexual gender based violence rather than supporting victims and proposing punishments for perpetrators.
Mrs. Weah wants the national fight to end rape focus more on awareness and sensitization at various levels of the society, including the schools, mosques and churches among others in order to prevent women, girls and children from falling victim to the menace.
The Liberian First Lady made the assertion Tuesday, September 8, 2020 when she addressed the opening session of the first ever National Conference on Sexual Gender Based Violence at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
“I strongly believe that our concentration should focus more on prevention rather than punishment because of the physical, emotional and psychological impact SGBV has on all its victims,” said Mrs. Weah.
“The DNA machine will definitely identify the right perpetrators and the safe home will provide a temporary shelter, but the scars from SGBV are permanent.”
The First Lady’s statement comes in the wake of mounting calls for harsher penalties including death sentence and chemical castration as remedies for ending the rape.
But Mrs. Weah respectfully differed, stressing that anti-rape and SGBV awareness must be used as the major tools in our national efforts to ensuring that women, children and girls are free from all forms of sexual abuses in society.
“The DNA machines and safe homes are necessary but SGBV awareness should be the main tool used in our fight against the menace. We must educate our men and boys in schools, churches, Mosques and our communities against SGBV.”
Mrs. Weah condemned rape in the strongest terms, expressing dismay over the raping of minors as young as 10 years old.
“The word ‘rape’ pricks my heart as a mother and female,” said Mrs. Weah adding: “There is no excuse for rape. All sexual gender based violence are inhumane and unacceptable.”
The First Lady said it was frustrating that rape continues to persist in spite immense efforts from all levels of the society.
She recounted her initiatives through the launching of her flagship program in June 2019, providing necessary support for women, girls and children victimized by SGBV, as well as providing help to other vulnerable and marginalized groups but to no avail.
Mrs. Weah however commended the farsightedness and exemplary leadership on the part of the President, Dr. George Manneh Weah in constituting the National SGBV Taskforce resulting into the formulation and endorsement of the ‘Government of Liberia and Partner’s Roadmap on Ending SGBV 2020-2022.
She was also delighted over the two day national event which is convening under the theme: “A National Call to Action: Inclusive Involvement to Fight Rape SGBV in Liberia!”
The forum, chaired by President by President Weah brings together a cross section of the society including representatives from the government, student, youth, women groups as well as local and tradition leaders among others to validate the national roadmap.
As the deliberations continue for the next two days, the Liberian First Lady’s challenged Liberian to join their efforts and take actions to end rape.
“Let us speak out and not be silent; prosecute the perpetrators and not shield them. We must protect the victims and refuse to compromise with people who are committing these atrocities,” Mrs. Weah asserted.