IN JUNE OF this year, Madam Mamena Kai, the Acting Deputy Minister for Children and Social Protection at the Ministry of Gender, disclosed that for the first quarter in 2023, the Ministry recorded 759 sexual and gender based violence cases in Liberia. 

SHE MADE THE disclosure while addressing the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism regular Thursdays press briefing. According to the young Minister, the total number of cases the Ministry has recorded for the first quarter, which is January to March is 759 cases. Concisely, she said in January they recorded 310, in February they recorded 309, and in March, they recorded 140 SGBV cases.

AS LIBERIA JOINS the world for the observance of the 16Days of Activism, we see the current statistic as a paramount reason for the Ministry of Gender and the justice system to do more, to ensure that a substantive remedy is provided to the dreadful nightmare of gender based violence that continues to hamper the safety and future of women and girls.  

WE ALSO CONCUR with 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee’s view, when she characterized the fight around the protection of women’s rights in Africa as a political decoration for many governments. As she rightly said, it is a political decoration because it is often used by political actors during electoral periods, and by stakeholders during major occasions, especially when it involves donors’ funds. 

LIKE MADAM GBOWEE, and several other Liberians, we strongly anticipate that particular time when GBV campaigns, like the 16Days of Activism will be 16 days of  venerating some of the gains of world, instead of consistently elaborating on the challenges that continue exist.

IF I MAY say, it is a political decoration for many governments, but for the women who are impacted by these crisis all over, it is life ensuring, and what they live for so on our continent you see more and more women are advocating, they are raising the issues, they are not stopping,” she tells the Voice of America (VOA).

MADAM GBOWEE CONTINUED– “Even where there’s no fund to do this work, it’s like a daily thing because that’s the only thing they can do to safeguard themselves and the girls that will come after them. It’s still a huge issue for us as women in the continent, and I’m hopeful that one day, it will not just be the political gains but action will follow some of the political talks.”

AS INTERNATIONAL BODIES, including the UN, AU, ECOWAS, have the required written policies to combat all forms of violence and discrimination against women, we believe there’s a crucial need for those policy papers and documents to be turned into actionable agenda.

I THINK WHAT is important now is for us to take all of those policy documents and turned them into actionable agenda, followed by funding and followed by a measure that is no longer about impunity, so we need to take it from the paper.” She adds- It’s very good for us to celebrate 16Days of Activism, but I dream of a day that 16Days of activism will be 16 days sharping some of the gains that we have made instead of consistently talking about the challenges that we continue to face.”

THE 2011 NOBEL Peace Prize Winner stressed, “Like everyone have said before, over and again, “women’s rights are human’s rights,” but it’s very important to note that for any community,  any society, any nation to do well, the women must be doing well.”

WITH THE AVAILABLE data Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, for 2023, and the  2022 report on gender based violence which shows that there is a 2.1%  increase in sexual gender violence as compared to previous years, we believe there’s an imperative need for more to be done, if a genuine safe space is to be created for women and girls.