The Ministry of Gender and Development (MOGD) and its partners including the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) have alarmed over the growing wave of rape cases across the country and have therefore launched a book to support the fight against rape.
The book entitled “SARA LET’S SPEAK OUT” is part of a series that encourages children to play positive roles in their communities, by speaking out and supporting peer victims and form a buddy system.
The launch of the anti-rape children’s book took place in the Borough of New Kru Town and brought together several dignitaries including the student community, among others.
Deputy Gender Minister, Annette N. Kiawu, who officially launched the book, disclosed that despite efforts including numerous conventions, awareness activities and the passing of laws by the Liberian Government to fight against rape, the cruel act continue to persist across the society.
Providing statistics on the number of reported rape cases, the Gender Ministry official disclosed that in 2013, a total of 2,159 of sexual and gender base violence cases were reported, while 971 were rape cases done against children between the ages of 10 months to 15 years-old; 38 were boys. The Gender official said at least 10 of the rape victims died during the course of that year.
The end of the violence against children’s initiative targets children and young people in schools, community members, lawmakers and other policy makers to accelerate actions and protect children against sexual violence.
Minister Kiawu noted that the book is an innovative and highly preventive method as part of the campaign to end violence against children’s initiative of the Government of Liberia and UNICEF. Minister Kiawu indicated that the launch of the book is intended to serve as a supplementary reader, to inform children of the need to report rape cases that will prevent them from being victims of sexual violence.
According to the Gender Ministry official, the book has been approved by the Ministry of Education to be used by pupils in grade 4-6 as part of an everyday learning in school, while arrangements are being made for school visits.
She stated further that the Ministry of Gender and Development will take the lead in processes that involve training and coordinate stage actors and service provider in providing strategies and programs that are responsive to fight against rape.
Minister Kiawu added that the Ministry will work with the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberia National Police, The Liberian Child Protection Network, The Liberian Representative Forum and various Task Forces as well as their United Nations partners.
Also speaking was UNICEF Deputy Country Representative, Dr. Faziul Haque who said his organization is partnering with the Liberian Government and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that rape is minimized from the society across the lengths and breadths of the country.
The occasion was graced by several schools including the Point Four Elementary School, Bishop William Nah Dixon Academy, Bushrod Foundation Institute, Logan Town Central, Juah Sarwee Memorial Welfare School, New Kru Town Assembly of God (AGM) School and the Euphemia Barclay Public School from Bentol City.