“It’s shameful that children are raped every day”

Meet 18-year-old Oline Bule—a school ambassador for ending sexual gender-based violence against girls in Liberia.

Through Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organisation WORIWA’s peer club, 18-year-old Oline Bule has gathered the courage to speak out against sexual gender-based violence. Photo: Wolobah Sali
Through Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organisation WORIWA’s peer club, 18-year-old Oline Bule has gathered the courage to speak out against sexual gender-based violence. Photo: Wolobah Sali

“I used to allow older men to call me their wife and squeeze my hand, but since I attended the trainings, I’ve put an end to all of that.”

18-year-old Oline Bule used to be very shy. But that has changed since she took part in a school club with trainings on gender-based violence and sexual exploitation. The club organiser, WORIWA, is one of Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organisations in Liberia and they teach students to report any violence against girls—giving victims a chance to be heard and to have the justice they are entitled to.

National emergency

Unfortunately, sexual violence is a topic which sorely needs to be addressed in Liberia. Last year, following a continuous increase of cases of rape and violence, Liberia’s president even declared a national emergency.

Oline agrees that the situation is unacceptable.

“It’s shameful that children are being raped every day,” she says.

Champion for girls’ rights

Through her training, Oline feels that her voice is finally being heard. And she uses it to stand up for her peers.

“I was able to report a case where a 13-year-old girl was raped by a 49-year-old man in my community. The adults wanted to handle it quietly, and I asked my mother what she would say if it would have been me? I told her: ‘Let’s report this, so that we can live more safely, otherwise we all risk being raped by this man’,” says Oline.

Oline’s mother felt guilty about reporting, since these matters are considered private and often “solved” between families (which means they never reach the police or the court system). But Oline had already called WORIWA.

“If it wasn’t for WORIWA, I wouldn’t have had the knowledge. I would have sat there and watched my parents and community compromise the case,” she says.

Trainings enables change-makers

WORIWA’s school clubs is a project financed by Kvinna till Kvinna. Oline hopes that more girls can attend clubs just like herself. And she is determined to carry on her mission through-out her life.

“I will continue to advocate for girl’s rights in my school—any form of violence against girls will be reported. When I go to college, I will take this to college level. We won’t stop until Liberia is safe for girls,” she says.

 

Kvinna till Kvinna has worked for women’s rights in Liberia since 2007 and we have an office in Monrovia. We support and work with several local partner organisations, including WORIWA, to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. Read more about our work in Liberia.

11 October 2021