Liberia: President Sirleaf Condemns Sodomy, Rape

Liberian Observer Monrovia Leroy M. Sonpon III
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has condemned the rising cases of rape and sodomy in the country, saying, « they are disastrous and dangerous. »

The President also challenged Liberians to reject gender based violence, stressing that the nation loses when a woman is beaten.

The President made the remarks yesterday at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection’s launch of the 16 Days of Activism, a global campaign dedicated to end gender based violence against women, men, girls and boys.

This year marks the 25th year of the 16 Days of Activism and the 15th commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism against gender violence campaign in Liberia.

« If any girl child suffers from violence it means that this nation loses someone who will help to build the nation, someone who will help to protect their parents, someone who will help to lead the way so that they too can reach their potential in life, » President Sirleaf said.

She appealed to communities to cooperate and stop protecting perpetrators of these acts.

« I say to all of you that have come to launch this program that we must all not only come to the program but we must join the fight in practical ways: in your communities, in your schools, in your associations, in your church, join this. Speak out against this. When you see small girls in the streets, tell their mothers ‘no, don’t send the small children in the streets to sell because you put them in danger of being hurt.' »

The President assured the gathering of the government’s support in the fight to end sexual based violence in the country.

Swedish Ambassador Lena Nordstrom, the Deputy Country Representative and Officer-in-Charge of the UN Women Liberia, Peterson Magoola and other members of the diplomatic corps pledged their support to invest and mobilize to end violence against women in Liberia.

Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell said this year’s celebration is under the national theme, « From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World; Stop Domestic Violence, End Child Marriage while Educating All. »

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