The Rape Statistics In Liberia Got So Bad, The Government Declared It A National Emergency. We Can Think Of Several Countries That Need This
On multiple occasions, we have talked about how violence against women is extremely prevalent in the seedy underbelly of society. From hearing about a few gruesome rape cases every few months, now we hear about them every few weeks. Women are assaulted, raped and yet, despite several protests, it continues unabated. What is worse is that we are then blamed for the actions of these sick men. Is it our fault they can’t keep it in their pants? The rape culture has grown into a massive threat and, just like the coronavirus, we have no concrete solution to the problem. So, we just have to improvise and treat the symptoms the best we can.
Make no mistake, this is a global threat. Every country is battling increased incidents of rape and domestic violence. The only difference is in the magnitude of the fight. Countries like Sudan or Pakistan are far more unsafe for women than let’s say Finland or Canada. At the end of the day, it all boils down to anti-rape laws of the country and the mentality of the people living there. However, like everything else in the world, those two factors are not stagnant.
Now, the reason I am talking about countries and their violence against women statistics is that Liberia has just declared rape a national emergency. The Liberian President George Weah has ordered new measures to be taken after a significant increase in rape cases.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 12, 2020
On Friday, a statement from President Weah’s office said that a special prosecutor would be hired for rape cases and a national sex offender registry would be set up. The government would also establish a “national security task force” on sexual and gender-based violence.
The decision of making violence against women a priority by declaring rape as a national emergency came after thousands of Liberians protested the alarming rate at which incidents of rape were increasing. These protests were aimed at drawing the government’s attention to the issue and, they succeeded.
President Weah’s announcement of national rape emergency follows a conference about tackling sexual violence in the nation’s capital, Monrovia. He said that Liberia was, “witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the [coronavirus] pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country”.
The increase of rapes in Liberia is not sudden. In fact, it has been a long-standing concern. In 2016, the United Nations released a shocking report. They found that in 2015, 803 rape cases had been reported in Liberia. Also, only 2% of the sexual violence cases led to a conviction.
The report said that these skyrocketing and extremely alarming numbers were a result of the 14-year long civil war. During that time, rapes were nothing out of the ordinary. Hence, creating the grave problem Liberia is facing today.
However, these incidents of rape have noticeably spiked this year. Margaret Taylor, the director of Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network, said her NGO had recorded a staggering 600 cases of rape between June and August. She also added that in May this number was anywhere between 80 to 100.
After mass protests in #Liberia over horrific increases in sexual assaults, President @GeorgeWeahOff has declared rape a national emergency & ordered new measures including creating a national sex offender registry & special prosecutor for rape. #EndVAWG https://t.co/QXlhBgqZwW
— equalitynow (@equalitynow) September 13, 2020
These numbers are truly scarring. It’s not the first time in history that war has had such a horrid and long-lasting impact and it won’t be the last. And as glad as we are that the nation’s government has decided to walk the extra mile to curb the threat, it’s just such a horrible thing to be in the news for. I mean, from now on everyone will know Liberia as the country that is so unsafe that it had to declare rape as a national emergency. Hopefully, the government will follow through on these measures and the situation for women in Liberia will drastically improve. Better late than never, right?
I just can’t help comparing these numbers to our own. 2020 has been a terrible year for women all around the world. Incidents of rapes are becoming increasingly prevalent. The thing that is truly scary though is the fact that the Liberian government is one of the only few who are proactively trying to curb this situation. It’s a scary situation, no doubt, but at least they are taking steps. In other parts of the world, it seems like women’s safety is not a priority for the authorities.
Also Read: Male Politicians In Croatia Talked About How Rape Shouldn’t Call For Abortion And Women Decided To Show Them The Middle Finger
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Since the onset of civilization women shares their existence remarkably. Many battles are fought in the supervision of females and many protests for their rights are glimpsed. Cases of female harrasment and sexual abuse are increasing day by day. The majority of cases go unreported due to a lack of awareness. Many victims suffer because of cluelessness about laws and rights meant in favor of them. Here are some of the rights that every Indian female must be aware of. One must be aware of their rights and responsibilities, to create a better place for themselves. Share it with everyone you know and ask them to do so. Maybe, it reaches the one who really needs to know about these. Do share, mark your contribution! Support Mission #RapeMuktBharat on @youth_against_rape
I mean, take the latest motorway rape incident of Pakistan for instance. The woman was brutally raped by two men in front of her two children while driving she was driving home at night. She was attacked when she stopped on the motorway after running out of fuel. It was horrifying. What was worse though was that instead of looking for the culprits and prosecuting them for their crimes, the lead investigating officer spoke to several local news channels about how the woman was responsible because she took the more deserted route.
It’s clear that their priority lies in finding ways to blame and shame the victim for the assault. Because how can a man be held responsible for not being able to keep it in his pants. This is one incident out of an ocean of incidents where the authorities seemed to care more about finding the woman’s fault instead of prioritizing her safety and ensuring what happened with one woman doesn’t happen with another.
Hopefully, all the countries that are overlooking the problem of increasing rape incidents will take Liberia’s initiative as an example and follow suit. We might not see results right away but hey, take even a few measures is better than being extremely ignorant.