The Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI) headed by its Executive Coordinator and International Women of Courage award winner and the International Visitor Impact Award 2023, Atty. Facia Harris over the weekend held a day-long dialogue with over fifty women not to tolerate violence against them whether in politics or not.
The dialogue was held at the Toddler Foundation School in 72nd which is owned and operated by a representative candidate, Doris Q. Dalieh under the theme, “Stop Violence Against Women in Elections.”
Giving the overview of the dialogue, Hawa Wilson, Administrator of Paramount Young Women Initiative said the dialogue was held to identify what can lead to violence against women in their homes and women in politics and to show support to Representative Candidate, Doris Q. Dalieh.
Mrs. Wilson added that if women understand what violence is and report it to the police, it will help minimize some of the violence women usually go through instead of being silent. She concluded that when women are somewhere they will feel the pains of another woman rather than dominant men found in a particular place.
For her part, Atty. Facia Harris presented on the topic, “Understanding the Causes, Forms, and Prevention of Violence Against Women in Elections.
During her presentation, Atty. Harris said as soon women put their hands up to contest an elected position they can be called all sorts of names and their nude photos or videos about their past something that usually made many women shy away from participating in electoral processes.
The learned lawyer told the gathering that usually when violence is melted against women nothing can be done about it. She encouraged women to always report violence against them whether at home or in politics.
“Under our law, no one should be insulted for supporting a particular candidate of their choice but rather everyone should have that free will to support whoever they want to support,” she added.
Article 5 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia says, “The Republic shall aim at strengthening the national integration and unity of the people of Liberia, regardless of ethnic, regional or other differences, into one body politic; and the Legislature shall enact laws promoting national unification and the encouragement of all citizens to participate in government’ preserve, protect and promote positive Liberian culture, ensuring that traditional values which are compatible with public policy and national progress are adopted and developed as an integral part of the growing needs of the Liberian society; take steps, by appropriate legislation and executive orders, to eliminate sectionalism and tribalism, and such abuses of power as the misuse of government resources, nepotism, and all other corrupt practices.”
“Despite we have gender policies and international laws on the book, violence are still been perpetrated against women,” she added.
She said women go through physical, psychological, and emotional violence and when heartless men want to make women ashamed, they will start to discuss their bodies in order to discourage them.
“Women don’t be used by men to destroy your friend woman because those men have nothing to lose after all and women should take the lead to report violence cases against them because both police and NEC are aware of violence against women and when these cases are brought before them, they will not sleep on it,” Madam Harris told the gathering.
Also speaking at the dialogue, the head of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL), Siatta Scott-Johnson told the women not to go against one another and allow them to convince women to vote for men because men are in the majority in the Legislature and women have the lower voices and decisions making.
Madam Johnson presented on the topic, “Why Women Political, Participation, Representation, and Leadership Matters in Liberia.
“Let us encourage our sisters to always vote for women,” she said Madam Scott-Johnson added that women are good leaders and decision makers if they are given the chance because they know the pains of another woman.
Also speaking Hellen Williams encouraged women not to always say because of the children’s sake and called on women to stop saying for the sake of children which is killing us, “I never wanted to vote for any representative and senator but because of Doris Q. Dalieh, I will vote for her,” the participant added.
Meanwhile, the program officer Alpha M. Kamara of Sister Hands called on women to be committed to supporting women instead of saying it on the lips.
Mr. Kamara said in Liberia, women don’t like to support each other because of selfish reasons and if women have a voice in the Legislature, they need to stand firm to support their colleagues and stop voting for males.