Rape: MONROVIA, July 22 (LINA) – First Lady Clar Marie Weah is challenging religious institutions to get involved in the campaign to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence’ (SGBV) in Liberia.

Mrs. Weah believes that the church, which is the moral conscience of society, has a critical role and, as such, its pastors and leaders must use every means available to sensitize their respective congregations against SGBV, especially rape.

The Liberian First Lady’s appeal was conveyed by her Chief of Office Staff, Gaelle Mediem on Sunday, July 19, when the Office of the First Lady donated 3, 000 masks to the St. Kizito Parish, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and the Winner’s Chapel International.

“We are calling on our religious leaders to try to sensitize the worshipers; to pass the message across that it (SGBV) is unacceptable,” said Madam Mediem.

“The girl that they rape can be their daughter, their sister and in some cases their mother,“ Mediem asserted, adding that Mrs. Weah was concerned because she understands the pains and trauma victims and survivals suffer.

“The First Lady has taken it (anti-rape campaign) onto herself because she understands and she identifies with what they are going through. That’s because ‘She is You.”

She’s You is the code name for the First Lady’s flagship program which seeks to promote improvement in the lives of women, girls and children through advocacy and empowerment for a better and prosperous Liberia.

Reports show that out of over 600 SGBV incidents recorded from January to July this year, about 151 are alleged gang and statutory rapes, among others.

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Madam Mediem said Mrs. Weah condemns the menace as unacceptable and wants everyone work collectively in ending rape and all forms of sexual, gender-based violence.

For their part, the pastors of the three churches frowned on violence against women, girls and children, re-affirming their commitment to educate their respective congregations against SGBV.

“In line with the rape cases, as a church, what we do is that we mould the minds of the people,” remarked Winner’s Chapel International’s Associate Pastor, Clarence Fredricks, adding: “…so that they can be able to understand that spiritually the body is for God so you don’t abuse the body of anybody.”

As part of the First Lady’s advocacy initiative, a 30 minute radio program known as Mother of the Nation is being produced and aired twice weekly on the national broadcaster, ELBC 99.9FM.

The program highlights the work and views of the First Lady as she endeavors to improve the lives of less fortunate Liberians in supporting the Liberian government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. It also features and airs messages of Mrs. Weah against societal ills.

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