By Morrison O.G. Sayon
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has strongly spoken against the inhume act of rape by saying that rapists must be turned over to the women if the court can’t prosecute them. Though Madam Sirleaf did not elaborate on why rapists should be turned over to the women, she said rape is a heinous crime that must be prosecuted but if the court cannot act in bringing them to speedy justice then they must be turned over to the females.
President Sirleaf said there are growing concerns over sexual violence in the country with statics indicating that 60 percent of those being raped being children especially girls under age 14. She said in 2012 some 2,493 rape cases were reported from across the country with Montserrado County topping the list.
Speaking on Wednesday at program marking the official launch of the Anti-Rape Campaign held in Monrovia, the Liberian leader said the court has fallen short in prosecuting rape cases while the crime of rape and sexual based violence cases are not highly prioritized.
She added that those charged with the responsibility to try rape cases must have the conviction to ensure that perpetrators are made to pay for their heinous crime. In strong word, Madam Sirleaf said, “If the judges don’t act, give rapists to the women, because this is very serious and we must deal with it drastically.”
President Sirleaf reminded parents, relatives as well as neighbors to focus on prevention by keeping their eyes wide opened on their girl children as they move about. She said community dwellers must be vigilant in protecting their children against those marauding wicked men who are on the rampage to destroy the little kids in the name of having sex.
“Any judge who thinks prosecuting rape cases is difficult should not be a judge because we have put into place several mechanisms to ensure that these heinous crimes are prosecuted,” the President averred. She said the dress code of women no matter how they dress does not in any way give anyone the right to rape.
Earlier, Gender and Development Minister, Julia Duncan-Cassell called on the Government of Liberia to provide funding to the Gender Based Violence Section at the Ministry of Gender to enable it deal with rape and sexual-based violence cases.
Madam Duncan-Cassell then admonished all Liberians to stand up against rape. She said the Anti-Rape campaign is a nationwide campaign intended to spread the message across the country that rape is a heinous crime and that any perpetrator of such crime will be prosecuted by government.
She said the campaign will not stop until the issue of rape becomes a history and that perpetrators are made to pay for their wickedness.
According to her, in 2012, four children died and another two died as a result of rape. The Anti-Rape Campaign was launched yesterday under the theme, ‘Stand Up Against Rape’.