Liberia: Family interventions hinder fight against rapes

Liberians took to the streets last August to protest against rapes

A problem inhibiting the fight against rape in Liberia is the practice of reaching a compromise after a rape has taken place, a Liberian social worker has observed.

Gayduo B. Bestman of the Coalition of Women Against Gender-based Violence in Liberia (COWAGIL) said most times when a rape occurs family members of the perpetrator promotes a compromise with the victim’s family through the use of money and other connections.

Instead of reporting the case to the police, people are encouraged to see it as a family matter that can be resolved through family channels, she told Nordic Africa News in a telephone interview. 

Mrs Bestman added that this attitude does not help as rapes keep occurring all the times because rapists do not face the consequences of their crimes via the law.

A wave of rapes has swept over Liberia lately leading to street protests and the government declaring a national emergency.

Mrs Bestman’s organization, COWAGIL is a community-based non-governmental organization primarily involved in creating awareness about the plight of women.

COWAGIL is based in Chocolate City, just outside the Liberian capital, Monrovia and works in three counties: Montserrado, Nimba and Lofa.