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VP Taylor Wants Harsher Punishments For Rapists

Liberia’s Vice President, Jewel Howard Taylor says something more stringent needs to be done so that the society knows that Gender Based violence is unacceptable.
She said a lot must be done to protect underage girls from rape and called on everyone to add their voices to what is happening in the country by letting perpetrators know that it is an unacceptable behavior and that the maximum punishment can be levied as a sign of saying ‘enough is enough’.
Madam Taylor said the number of rape cases during this coronavirus period is even more alarming over two months as there are almost 600 cases of young children who are sexually abused under the ages of 18 which is unacceptable.
Though not knowing the answers to the reasons why rape is on the increase in the country, speaking on the Spoon Talk recently, Madam Taylor described it as a sad situation and wondered what a man will see in a two- year old baby, a 12- year old or a 13- year old child for which he would desire to have sex with her.
She said seeing the statistics of the number of rape cases in the country leading to girls or minors having babies when their bodies are not even prepared, it is like babies having babies; she pointed out, “I don’t know what is happening in the circuit of the men who carry out such act,” and called for an elevation in the punishment of rape to provide a deterrent.
She added that maybe like the laws in the West which are very stringent on people having sex with a child under 18 which calls for lifetime punishment; Liberia can look at the maximum punishment available to serve as a deterrent but again Liberia is still dealing with cases where those who are accused and sent to prison are set free surreptitiously because of overcrowded prisons as well as communities and family interferences.
She said it is sad that Liberia has degenerated to this point because there are many women out there who do not have husbands and the men should begin to look out for such women so that they can take on the responsibilities of becoming fathers of those homes.
She said there are lots of advantages taken by the male members of the society and there is a whole school of the Liberian men whose only desire is to have sex with underage girls who proudly take them to public functions and parties as if it is not someone else’s daughter.
“I think all of us need to begin to name and shame these people and make it such an embarrassment so that they change their attitude because I know I will not allow a friend of mine to come to my house with someone 12 or 16 years old daughters because then I will expect the same thing to happen to the girls that I am raising; we cannot make it look like a norm and say you know that is the men’s thing, no, it is not. We need to protect our daughters because if you educate and empower a girl, you empower the next stage of the generation of young people,” she expressed.
The Liberian Vice President said there were issues of such cases languishing in court as a result of DNA tests only to understand that the DNA machine was left to rot in the hospital because there is no one professional to interpret its reading; so without a DNA proof in court to identify the perpetrators, the cases were thrown out.
Madam Taylor, in her frustration said the families got tired because this has become an unending cycle and said that is why she believes that the support provided to girls through the Jewel Starfish Foundation Program is so important because that child is more protected than others through the mentorship and the families are more secure.
She said because it is the economic situation that people will use as an excuse to send their girls out to older men in order to bring food into the home as a justification of leaving their children vulnerable.
On the issues of Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Madam Taylor said this leads to the loss of lives and the lives of children that are being tampered with, therefore she proposed that the punishments in the law have to be stepped up.
“And if you do not want a woman just leave her; do we kill the men for the infidelity that we face in or lives? It is serious that your wife will forgive you over and again just because she loves you but somebody will get vex and chop up a woman because she was on a telephone call,” Madam Taylor wondered.
Madam Taylor said something must be done to stamp the rising tide of sexual and gender based violence because women are killed on a daily basis and in addition leave two or three children as a result of a jealous man whose reason for his action is based on a mere telephone call.
“Where is that paternal love now while mothers are stranded with a lot of children? This is a whole economic situation. People need to start to think in a holistic way like how we, as mothers can protect our children. It is better that you as the mother become a prostitute and give your daughters security because once they get out of school your earning years are a little bit easier or maybe we should not have as many children as we are having,” she noted.

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