The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection applauds the unprecedented reporting of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases across the country by whistle blowers. This speaks volumes, as compared to the past where sexual and gender-based violence cases were rarely reported, due to the lack of confidence in the Justice system, or, due to traditional and cultural submission, or otherwise.
In particular, the Ministry appreciates the most recent whistle-blower who brought light to the recent alleged rape case that went viral on social media. The poster’s action has set into motion a pathway to justice for the survivor. Nevertheless, whilst fully valuing and understanding the reason behind the post – to help get justice for the survivor, the Ministry would like to appeal to viewers of the viral video to disengage from sharing said content forward, especially without protecting the name and face of the survivor. This will help protect her rights to privacy as enshrined in the Children’s Law of 2011, as much as can be done right now. Note is taken that the inadvertent exposure of the identity of the rape survivor, has actually set the stage for her re-victimization to a certain degree, especially as a minor.
The Ministry applauds the Minister of Justice and his Team, for working in tangent with his colleague the Gender Minister and her Team, for ensuring that the Liberia National Police’s Foya District Women and Children Protection Services, and the MGCSP’s Lofa County Gender Supervisor moved quickly to get the survivor and place her into protective custody, where she is receiving the necessary support and care. The LNP is also appreciated for picking up the survivor’s mother for questioning which led to getting the full name of the alleged perpetrator, and a picture to identify him. The Government of Liberia through its’ Justice system has placed an All-Points Bulletin (APB) on Suspect Johnson Chulutah and a robust manhunt has been launched for his arrest upon sight. Gender encourages anyone who might have cogent information that could aid the police in their search to arrest the alleged perpetrator, to come forth and report it to the authorities, especially the Police.
The Ministry welcomes public reporting on SGBV cases and encourages every citizen to continue to pay attention to the happenings in the communities, and say or report anything seeming suspicious or out of the ordinary, as well as negative situations needing attention for different vulnerable groups. Please feel free to also use the 4455 Hotline to report any negative situations you might be in, or aware of.
Let us continue to stay safe in the midst of this pandemic and help kick COVID-19 out, even as we work on kicking out the scourge of SGBV in our country.