75 %

This is the percentage of Liberian women that are said to have been victims of rape during the country’s civil war.

On the street in Monrovia

While this may be an overestimation courtesy of Nick Kristof, gender-based violence is a serious concern in Liberia. The latest (and most reliable) data on the subject has just been released by the Initiative for Vulnerable Populations at UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center, showing that both women and men are frequent victims of domestic violence. Extract:

Overall, 26% of the surveyed adult Liberians reported having experienced a severe beating by their spouse or partner. When considering women only, severe beatings by a spouse or partner were reported by 36% of the women. Among men, as many as 16% reported violent beatings. The most common reasons for the beating were cheating (32%) and coming home late (22%). (Source)

Posters, billboards, pamphlets can be seen around town as part of the Ministry of Gender’s effort to break the taboo and raise awareness around gender-based violence. Here is another one:

She Could Be Your Mother

This campaign slogan could sound far-fetched (yet effectively dissuasive?). But given that many Liberian women have their first child as young as 16, she could (technically) be your mother.

A couple of years ago, Liberia created Court E, a chamber dedicated only to trial rape cases while protecting the victim’s identity. But this is the only article I have seen about the court’s operations, indicating challenges to its work in a climate that remains too complacent of rape.

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2 thoughts on “75 %

  1. As I have been specifically working on GBV for more than 3 years (both response and prevention), I still don’t see any “light” at the end of the tunnel, frankly speaking. Blame my naivete and limited knowledge, I don’t know why violence in any form (especially against women and children) is still widely tolerated. In some countries that I have worked in/with, it’s simply overlooked, denied, or seen as “normal and unimportant.”

    As long as gendered power relations are unequal and oppressive forms of patriarchy systems/beliefs/mechanisms persist, GBV will remain unsolved. — There will always things to do, won’t there?

  2. Hey, just to share a piece of info, Raising Voices and GBV Prevention Network (both based in Kampala, Uganda) developed amazing advocacy and capacity building toolkits for GBV and HIV prevention. They are called SASA! and Get Moving! Check them out if you are interested.

    These kits are simple but amazing. They were developed surrounding the concept of power imbalance (as along the way, it is found that using the gender concept may not work. And power is personal with every man and woman as all individuals experience power imbalance and suffer its consequences).

    They are mainly for activists, practitioners, and advocates (mainly at the grass-root level). But I personally believe that politicians and “big” people should be trained on this!

    Ciao

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