-Ends One Day Experience Sharing Dialogue
By Esau J. Farr
It is seems that the fight against all forms of violence against women, girls and children is far from ending once decision makers and other stateactors do not change their attitudes, perceptions or mind set in ensuring that the world is a saferplace for both men and women.
This is evidenced by the continual organization of several workshops and experience sharing events and forum meant to teach and discuss the issues of different forms of violence against women, girls and children across Liberia.
One of such organizations that is not hand-folded or leaving any stone unturned in bringing to light the issues of violence against women and girls is the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia, WONGOSOL.
It is because of this that WONGOSOL through its program department with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands on Thursday, October 10, 2019 held a one day Girls Dialogue on sharing experiences of violence in the work places.
The ceremony was held at the YWCA building in Congo Town along the Tubman Boulevard and brought together dozens of girls from different organizations and communities.
The girls were taught on the dangers of different forms of violence against them (girls) in the work places and cautioned to be mindful and or watchful of perpetrators of violence against them.
Participants and panel discussants identified some of the forms of violence against girls and young women as battling (fighting), sexual exploitation and abuse at work places, schools and colleges or universities and homes.
The dialogue was held under the theme, “Girl force; Breaking Boundaries and Barriers; Take a girl to work”.
Serving as panelists, Cherry Williams of the Clar Weah School of Health Sciences and Leeneh Yvette Kiamu, Director of Programs at the Liberia Renewal Ministries moderated by Eliza Dahn of WONGOSOL lead the discussions cautioning participants to be mindful of people in society who are bent on violating against the rights of girls, women and children in any form and manner at their respective homes, work places and even institutions of learning.
Some of the topics discussed by the two panelists were; street selling, violence in public institutions like restaurants, schools, ghettoes, work places Et cetera (etc).
In her deliberations, Ms Cherry Williams lamented about the reported increasing wave of violence against girls and women mostly carried out by their male counterparts and others knowingly or unknowingly as a result of cultural upbringing and poor parenting or poverty.
Cherry asserted that parents do not know their responsibilities to their children something that causes their children to go wayward.
She lamented that parents most of the time shun their kids thus making them (children) to go far away from parent’s upbringing.
It also leads to children being self-reared thus resulting to low or no quality of education yielding low self-esteem.
Cherry then used the opportunity and encouraged the participants to help change their friends who are involved with acts that negatively affect their surroundings, environment and the larger society adding, “If you can’t change the ugly behaviors in an individual, that very friend may change you into a bad person”.
For her part, Ms.Leeneh Y. Kiamue frown at people who encourage street selling suffered by children most of them at the hands of adopted parents, aunties, uncles and other extended relatives.
According to her, some of the kids or underage girls who are sent into the streets to fetch for family meal are most often insulted, rapped or deprived of their rights to quality education and a hope for better and brighter future through proper empowerment.
She explained that she learned how to drive, ride bike and other important social interactions through her father’s close interaction with her and fatherly parenting.
At the end of the one day event, BertteeForkpabio, Program Officer at WONGOSOL thanked participants and panelists for making the ceremony a successful one.
She reflected on her ordeal about her struggles with education in the midst of her mother’s illness and lack of tuition and competition with her male counterpart in a culturally bleached society.
She encouraged participants to serve as ambassadors and agents of spreading the message of non-violence against women and girls in their respective communities, schools and work places if their voices must be heard loudly and beyond.TNR