Liberia: Senator Seeks Justice for 15-Year-Old Raped by Stepfather
Monrovia – Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence(Liberty Party, Grand Bassa) has urged the Ministry of Justice, the Female Lawyers Association of Liberia, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection and all institutions interested in the rights of children to treat the rape and impregnation of a 15-year-old girl in Lofa County with the utmost urgency in sending a powerful message to would-be rapists and abusers of children’s rights.
Report by Mae Azango, [email protected]
In a statement Tuesday, the Senator said she was heartbroken after watching the video that has gone viral depicting the young girl explaining how she was raped by her stepfather.
Mother ‘Told me to lock the door’
Kumba (not her real name) was filmed sitting on a wooden bench and breastfeeding her baby girl, a product of a forceful rape allegedly committed by her stepfather when she was barely fourteen.
The young girl explained how she once lived with her mother and the husband in Monrovia. But since her mother’s husband family never liked the mother, her grandmother told the mother to go to Lofa and leave her husband, but the mother refused, until the unthinkable happened leading to her pregnancy.
Kumba lamented: “That day, when my ma was going to sell, she told me to lock the door. After I finished locking the door and went to sleep; my ma husband tied cloth on his face and put clothes in my mouth so, I could not shout, and he did bad thing to me. By that time, I was menstruating when he did it to me. When I told my ma, she said husband cannot do that kind of thing.”
The little girl further narrated after some time, her stomach started growing, her mother bought pregnancy test and tested her and found out she was pregnant. But by the she explained she was already three-months pregnant and nothing came out of it. “So, she sent me to my grandma in Lofa to be here.”
When asked if her mother did anything about the situation, the young girl explained that at first, the mother wanted to take action against the husband, but people told her not to do it. “So, she sent him to his home. The same day I was coming to Lofa, is the same day my step pa was going to his home,” she said.
The mother of the rape victim has been identified as Mary Chulutay, known to many in the area where the incident took place as Ma Mary.
When FrontPageAfrica visited the area where Ma Mary lives, many residents expressed surprise that Ma Mary was the one being accused of carelessly handling the rape saga involving and shielding her husband from authorities investigating the matter.
“That day, when my ma was going to sell, she told me to lock the door. After I finished locking the door and went to sleep; my ma husband tied cloth on his face and put clothes in my mouth so, I could not shout, and he did bad thing to me. By that time, I was menstruating when he did it to me. When I told my ma, she said husband cannot do that kind of thing.”– 15-year-old rape victim
Mother Flees Arrest
On Tuesday, the mother was nearly arrested but escaped and hid in the Johnsonville area after she was reportedly tipped off by a family member from Lofa via mobile to escape.
A resident in the area said the mother fled the area after receiving the call and was seen leaving the area.
The mother, according to residents in the area has a baby almost the same age of her daughters’ and that both she and her daughter got pregnant at the same time.
“Because of the shameful thing, she sent the little girl to Lofa. When people started to ask who the father of her daughter’s child was, they were always told that her husband is in the Southeast, but he is presently in Nimba County,” one family member told our reporter.
On Tuesday, Senator Lawrence expressed shock after watching the video. “This is one moment when it took me so long to find my words. I’m deeply disturbed that a Liberian child would be so abused and humiliated right in her own country without it becoming a situation of national concern. The story of this little girl could be representative of the untold tragedies of several other girls across the country.”
The Senator said she has already spoken with her colleague, Representative Julie Wiah (Independent, District No. 2, Lofa County) in whose district the 15-year-old girl currently resides. “She (Rep. Wiah)has informed me about efforts to have the alleged perpetrators arrested and brought to justice through the local government structure in Lofa County.
Senator Lawrence said as a mother and national leader, she has been deeply distressed by the video. “I’m planning a trip to Lofa to meet with this little girl and inspire hope in her life. It’s going to be a difficult thing looking in her eyes and expressing my empathy. But as it is, I dare to do.”