The war in Liberia was highly destructive to social systems and structures. One particular problem that continues today is gender-based violence (GBV). GBV reached astounding levels during the war and continues today. While there have been no formal surveys, researchers hold that 40% of all Liberian women are survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery and physical assault. GBV has widespread negative psychological, psychosocial and physical effects. ARC currently operates two programs to prevent and respond to GBV in Liberia.
Community GBV Prevention and Response. ARC Liberia implements GBV prevention and response activities in communities in Bong, Margibi and Montserrado Counties. ARC’s GBV prevention and response activities include community education around issues such as gender, human rights, GBV and sexual exploitation; work with local health and security providers to prevent, identify and appropriately respond to cases of GBV; and provision of case management and counseling services for GBV survivors. ARC Liberia has recently included a Reproductive Health Literacy Component (RHL) to its program.
Safe Passage: A Refuge to Return Strategy for Vulnerable Liberian Refugees. ARC Liberia collaborates with ARC Guinea to implement a cross-border GBV prevention project for returning Liberian refugees. The project provides information to Liberian refugees in camps in Guinea regarding the repatriation process and current situation in Liberia so they can make informed decisions about their return. Project staff identify vulnerable returnees and refer them to ARC Liberia staff/ or other GBV programs for monitoring and support. ARC staff also train repatriation actors (drivers, transit center staff, security and medical personnel) in prevention of GBV, especially sexual exploitation. The project works in Bong, Nimba and Lofa Counties of Liberia and in N’Zerekore and Kissidougou regions of Guinea.