Mariah, mother of Janet, 28, mentally handicapped and deaf as a result of epilepsy:
“It makes me so angry to think about what happened to my daughter. A man assaulted and raped her down on the beach two years ago. A witness came by and interrupted it, and Janet managed to find her way home. She was bleeding very badly, and I feared she would die.
The police caught the perpetrator quite quickly, but the case never came to court. I’m sure someone in the system has been bribed. It’s terrible to think that my daughter will never get justice. Someone took advantage of her situation, and it is as if she does not matter to society. It hurts both her and me.
The perpetrator has moved away, but his family still lives in our community. The father refuses to speak to us. He is angry with us about what has happened – as if it was our fault.
The only ones who have helped our family through all this is Oxfam and FCI. They gave us money to cover some of the hospital expenses in connection with the rape. And they have shown concern for us through it all. It really means a lot.
I hope that my daughter’s story can help to bring focus on rape here in Liberia. Perhaps it may even mean that this will not happen to others.”
ATTITUDES: We work to change social norms and attitudes towards violence against women. For example, we conduct campaigns on the radio, organize demonstrations, and go into small communities to help the women get organized and stand up for themselves.
EDUCATION: We educate hospital staff, judges and police so they know how to respond when they witness violence against women.
HELP FOR VICTIMS: Girls and women like Beatrice need support. We help them process their trauma and support them all the way through the judicial system – and to move on afterwards.
POLITICAL IMPACT: We help to pave the way for new legislation. For example, there is now an Executive Order criminalizing domestic violence – and we’re supporting partners seeking to enshrine this in law.
PARTICIPATION: We are working to get more women to engage in politics, from local councils to parliament – among other things, because we know that female politicians are more likely to support women and women's interests. We support those who choose to stand so they can campaign fairly, on equal terms with men.