Liberian women unite against violence

Victoria Zay Zay was a mother for just a brief while. At the age of 21, she was raped and murdered in police detention in Liberia. She left behind her two-year-old daughter Joyce. The official version of events claims Victoria committed suicide. But the body taken to hospital had severe injuries.

"They took my girl. In the future, I hope there will be justice. So my granddaughter will be able to get an education and have a good life,” mourns grandma Comfort. Photo: Anna-Carin Hall / Kvinna till Kvinna

Victoria is one of the thousands of Liberian women who have fallen victim to gender-based violence. The problem is widespread in the country. Because the justice system is weak and corrupt, perpetrators are seldom tried in court. But there are glimmers of hope. Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organisations in Liberia actively fight gender-based violence.

Working to hold perpetrators accountable

The peacebuilding organisation WANEP offers Victoria’s mother Comfort a safety network and support. It also actively lobbies to ensure her daughter’s murderer will be punished. Through everything from sit-in protests to press conferences, WANEP last year managed to get the authorities to release the case’s autopsy report. It revealed Victoria died from the consequences of a brutal rape.

The five police officers who were on duty during the night Victoria was murdered, were dismissed and the minister for justice was forced to resign.

WANEP’s brave fight to hold perpetrators accountable continues.

“They took my girl”

“I want those who killed my daughter to be punished,” says grandma Comfort. “They took my girl. In the future, I hope there’ll be justice. So my granddaughter can get an education and live a good life.”

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation supports the relentless work of organisations like WANEP to demand respect for women’s rights. So that in the future, girls like Joyce can grow up in Liberia without the threat of violence.

Photo: Anna-Carin Hall / Kvinna till Kvinna
Photo: Anna-Carin Hall / Kvinna till Kvinna