Source: Front Page Africa

THE RISE IN RAPE cases in Liberia is scary, worrisome and an ugly phenomenon, especially the sexual abuse and exploitation of minors, that is under-aged girls.

IT IS NOTHING short of impunity, and is being perpetrated with such rampancy and violence that has left many wondering and asking what is really amiss?

RECENTLY, a three-year old girl was allegedly raped by her 17-year-old neighbor in the Soul Clinic community.

THOUGH THE VICTIM has been arrested by the police the grandmother of the alleged victim is calling on the police to wade into the situation as soon as possible.

IN TEARS THE GRANDMOTHER of the victim said she discovered the trousers of the child soaked with blood minutes after she returned from the market. “When I asked her who did this to you, she said it was the neighbor’s son, Kwesi Johnson,” the grandmother said.

DAYS LATER, Rebecca Tokpah (not real name) now lives with the regret of not taking her 19-year-old step daughter along when she decided she could no longer live her father because of his abusive nature.

THE 19-YEAR-OLD did not only because a victim of physical abuse, but also a rape survivor. She was alleged raped consistently by her own father.

REBECCA TOLD FRONTPAGEAFRICA that she broke up with the alleged perpetrator a year ago and left his daughter behind due to circumstances beyond her control.

IN BONG COUNTY, central Liberia, in one of the four cases that was reported and handled this year by Women and Children Protection Service of the Liberia National Police, a knife was reportedly used to intimidate a 16-year-old girl in Bong Mines, to succumb to the rapist’s unwarranted sexual attack.

THERE HAVE BEEN tales of woes for women and girls caught up in the web of the pervasive violence in public and private spaces. Why is President George Weah watching this impunity grow daily?

WHAT IS PRESIDENT WEAH, the self-proclaimed Feminist-in Chief doing to immediately halt this trend of increasing sexual and gender-based violence?

The crux of the matter is that, there is low accountability to violence perpetrated against the female gender.

THERE EXISTS an unaccountable number of other victims who are violated every day, every week, every month and every year, in Liberia.

IT IS NOT A MYTH; it has become women’s lived reality. Women’s body has become a site of struggle, and the personal has become political.

THE TRUTH IS THAT, there is no safe space for women and girls anymore in Liberia. Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, women and girls face disproportionate forms of sexual and gender based violence in the forms of rape, defilement, and sexual harassment.

AGAIN, and for the umpteenth time what is going on? Is there still a safe space for women, with the incessant rape and murder? The audacity of rapists has taken dimensions, hitherto uncommon.

WHY ARE THEY getting bolder, and defying the public outcry for an end to this heinous crime of rape?

THE UPSURGE in rape cases is indeed, scary and adds to the anxiety and anguish caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the increase may well be an indication that Liberia is succeeding in breaking the culture of silence that hitherto, shrouded open sexuality discourse.

IT MAY ALSO MEAN THAT, Liberian women and girls are coming to terms with their own “me too” movement. The world is a global village, and increasingly, people are empowered, especially by social media to speak out and stand in solidarity to deal with social ills that affect them.

FOR FAR TOO LONG, victims have been re-victimized, and doubly jeopardized by society and in the administration of criminal justice. A woman who alleges rape is seen as a liar, even before the law, hence, all the bottlenecks in accessing justice.

WHAT A COUNTRY Liberia has become! Where the victim becomes the villain, and the perpetrator gets away with blue murder in daylight?

AS RIGHTLY, observed by Mrs. Ne Suah Livingston, a Child Rights Advocate who runs the Rescued and Abandoned Children in Hardship (REACH), the

government is failing to handle rape cases in the country, and called on President Weah formulate stringent measures to minimize the menace.

“I want to ask President Weah, as a father, how would he feel if one of his children as young as three-year-old was raped like this child, and what would he do? The same action he would take if this was his child, it is the same action I am asking him to take in this child’s case,” said Livingstone.

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