By Margaret Nigba —
After 11 years of marriage, Watta’s* (not her real name) husband threw her out of their home. He ordered her to stay away and blocked her access to everything they jointly worked for — two houses, one truck, one taxi, one minimart and an artisanal gold mining business.
One week after she moved to her mother’s house with her two children, fire gutted the house. Watta and her children, who had narrowly escaped, had nowhere to go. They slept in the street until they were referred to our Legal Mobile Clinic. After months of delayed justice, we won Watta a divorce settlement where she received alimony of $5000 and recovered her properties.
In my eight years of being an attorney who specializes in representing victims of sexual and gender-based violence, I know that Watta was lucky to get judicial redress. Most cases do not even reach the courtroom. This is a consequence of the patriarchal Liberian society in which domestic violence against women is normalized. In fact, the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) index revealed that in Liberia, two out of ten of its citizens think domestic violence is acceptable…