Over the last five months and even before, pages of newspapers, online platforms and street corners are littered with the wailing of victims of grave sexual violence including rape and murder to heart-wrenching proportion. Hence, Liberia’s Vice President, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor says “desperate times like these require desperate measures” to serve as deterrent to perpetrators of the heinous crime that is resulting to the loss of lives and the destruction of the future of babies due to rape and other forms of domestic violence melted against them.
“We are not in ordinary times, so desperate times calls for desperate measures,” she emphasized, and added: “Severe punishment for heinous crimes should serve as a deterrent to perpetrators; as it shows society’s rejection and unacceptability of the criminal actions.”
In a statement, the Liberian Vice President indicated that every society must make up its mind about how to handle its most grievous crimes, especially against those who are unable to speak for themselves. I add my voice to those whose voices are raised against this heinous crime, and call for life imprisonment for Rape of women over 18 years old and harsher penalties for those guilty of raping girls under 18 years old.
“Severe punishment for heinous crimes should serve as a deterrent to perpetrators; as it shows society’s rejection and unacceptability of the criminal actions,” she stressed.
Madam Taylor contends that no man who rapes a child or a woman deserves to be free or given the freedom to live a normal life.
“What I do know is that every society must make up its mind about how to handle its most grievous crimes, especially against those who are unable to speak or defend themselves,” she stressed further. “I, today, amplify my voice to the campaign, calling for an end to rape in our society.”
Vice President Howard Taylor called on the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia to submit an amendment to the Law on Rape, increasing the penalties therefrom to include Life Imprisonment and the tougher punishment in cases where the victims are 18 and below. This call is just and right, to end actions of rape against women and girls.
The abuse of women and girls has become a new normal in the country, with no day coming to pass without reports that one woman or another, usually minors, being raped and subjected to cruel actions by men. It appears the present increased advocacy and public condemnation and attempts to make rape an unbailable offense are not working to reduce attacks on women and girls in Liberia even though the present rape law sets a maximum prison term of seven years for rapists.
She maintained that it is now hard time that the campaign against rape and other crimes against women and girls goes from mere words to strong and effective actions.
Chief Dr. Howard Taylor entreats the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection and other relevant institutions to begin looking at critical issues that could stand in the way of prosecution such as a functional DNA machines at health facilities that would ensure that perpetrators of these grave crimes account for their actions as well as the building of safe homes for victims and legal presentation.
She stressed that safety measures against the occurrence of the crime at the community level are also necessarily critical.
“I called on everyone to name and shame those who are predators on our daughters and sisters. Enough is enough,” she emphasized.