Liberia: 17-Yr-Old Neighbor Rapes 3-Yr-Old Girl

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MONROVIA – The grandmother of a three-year-old girl allegedly raped by her 17-year-old neighbor is crying out for justice and wants the police to wade into the matter as soon as possible.

The alleged perpetrator has been arrested by the police.

The alleged rape was said to have been committed by Kwesi Johnson of the Soul Clinic community, where the victim lives with her grandmother.

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.

Mrs. Ne Suah Livingston, a Child Rights Advocate who runs the Rescued and Abandoned Children in Hardship (REACH), said a medical report on the minor confirmed that she was severally violated and her hymen had been ruptured as a result of the alleged rape.

 “The damage done to this baby is very bad. The blood I saw coming out of her private part confirmed how terrible the situation is,” she said. 

When asked if the perpetrator used his finger or his manhood to commit the act, she responded:  “According to the medical report, the victim was lacerated six inches above her private part, running towards her anus. The doctor said thank God the tear did not reach her anus, or it would have been bad. Therefore, I do not think the perpetrator used his ordinary fingers to rape the child,” she said.

 Expressing her disappointment, Mrs. Livingstone said she is tired with the way government is handling 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.

When asked if perpetrators who raped should be castrated as earlier suggested by AFL Chief of Staff Prince C. Johnson, she replied: “People who rape babies like this child, should be castrated.”

Mrs. Livingstone accused the  president of playing lip service and boasting of setting up a taskforce to fight sexual and  gender-based violence cases with no results since the declaration.

“You have a government that not only claims to be led by a Feminist-in-Chief and who made commitments to take emergency action on rape, and somehow nothing much shifts beyond public statements,” said Lakshmi Moore, former Director of Action Aid Liberia, and an expert in gender issues.

On September 13, 2020, President Weah declared rape a national emergency. His announcement came in response to a crime that shocked the nation: after a fifteen-year-old boy had raped a three-year-old girl, using a razor blade to commit the crime in the same year.

President Weah promised to set up a special committee to investigate sexual and gender-based crimes. He promised a special prosecutor to handle rape cases, a national sex offender registry, and a national security task force to handle sexual and gender-based violence. 

The president said he had allocated $US2m in emergency funding to the problem. But a year on in 2021, nothing has been done by government to address the menace.

The allotment of the US$ 2 million  Emergency Fund for the establishment of a taskforce has generated public debates. Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, Smith Toby, told FPA portion of the money was allocated to purchase a DNA machine. The machine arrived at John F. Kennedy Medical Center but Dr. Jerry Browne, the Hospital Administrator, told Front Page Africa it was not in use because there is nobody to operate it.

“The rest of the US$2m went to the Ministry of Gender for the establishment of the Taskforce,” he said.

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