By Eric Gerlay (Intern)
The calls for punitive action against rapists continue to increase amidst the growing number of rape and domestic violence cases in the country.
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor has joined the list of individuals calling for stronger punishment for rapists, describing the growing wave of SGBV cases as a ‘grievous crime’ especially against minors.
“Fellow citizens, over the past five months I have been overwhelmed by huge numbers of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence incidents currently taking over our national sphere ranging from physical and mental abuse. In most instances, our daughters and babes are being raped and sometimes died in the process.
Today, I amplify my voice and add it to the many others who have been speaking for a campaign calling an end to rape in our society. I also pledge my unwavering supports to the call for harsher punishment for those who are convicted of raping a woman over eighteen years and a harsher one for those raping girls less than eighteen years.
I am of the opinion that no man who rapes a child or a woman deserves the freedom to live a normal life. What I do know is that every society must make up its mind how to handle its grievous crimes especially against those who are unable to speak or defend themselves.
I, therefore, call on Females Lawyers Association of Liberia (FLAL) to submit an amendment to the laws on rape by increasing the penalty thereof.
I also call on the Movement for One Liberia (MOL) to establish community-based activities across our country to create awareness about the crime.
I also call on the Ministry of Gender (MOG) to begin a robust program to deal with the issue of rape from the point of perpetration to the Law.
Again, these not ordinary times, so desperate times call for desperate measures. We have to talk about this too much. It is time we combine our energy with concrete actions,” the vice said in a statement.
Recently, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Major General Prince C. Johnson said there is a need to impose the death penalty for perpetrators.
“I know the international community doesn’t actually support these decisions. I think with the huge number of statistics we have on rape, there is a need that we revisit the issue of the death penalty for those who sexually abuse our women and girls in Liberia.”
Over 635 SGBV cases have been reported during the first quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, a Liberian female youth Activist based in the US, Telvina Cole has also added her voice, describing is as ‘Devilish Act’ the current waves of SGBVs cases in the country.
Madam Cloe, who is leading a massive campaign against SGBV, wants Castration as a penalty for those convicted of rape especially against children underage.
She made the disclosure during her appearance on a KMTV talk show over the weekend. She commended others who are strongly speaking against rape in the country including Major Gen. Johnson.
The youth activist however noted that welcome the Chief of Staff’s statement, but she does not support the death penalty, rather a harsher penalty for rape perpetrators.
“I personally do not support the death penalty. While I don’t support the death penalty, I also believe that we need to enforce the law. We need to get hold of these perpetrators. They’re walking away free that why the numbers keep increasing,” she said.