The prevalence of sexual violence in Liberia is “extremely high” 10 years after Liberia’s most recent civil war. During the war, nearly 77% of women in Liberia experienced sexual violence. The incidence of rape remains high even in 2013, with as many as 26% of Liberian women reporting rape by a stranger, and 70-73% reporting sexual assault by their spouse. Victims also report suffering lasting trauma from rapes, such as persistent pain, “HIV infections, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and infertility.” Many rape victims have been ostracized and publicly humiliated by their communities.
This data was compiled in a new report called “The Fallout of Rape as a Weapon of War” by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), based in the United Kingdom. The report’s authors say impunity for perpetrators, and the economic and social dislocations of war that lead to “hyper masculinity” and a “culture of rape” are key factors contributing to the continued high rate of sexual assaults in Liberia. Economic development, education, assistance for victims and increased prosecutions that serve as a deterrent to future sexual violence are important steps in combating rape in Liberia.
Compiled from: Tackling Liberia’s high rape rate, IRIN News Service (July 18, 2014)