|Mr. Musa Willie|
As a parent, can you Imagine witnessing your child bleed to death and the aftermath of such horrific experience? Rape is a crime that doesn't only affect the victim but also affects an entire generation; most especially, those who hailed from deep religious and traditional backgrounds. I applaud the Liberian Justice Ministry for launching an investigation to gather all the facts that led to the death of twelve (12) year old, Ma Musu Fofana. It is my hope that the perpetrator (s) will be brought to justice! The recent rape incident in Liberia has created serious sense of insecurity for many parents and their children. Recently, a twelve (12) years old by the name of Ma Musu Fofana , was raped , neglected , and died as a result of physical assault by a rapist According Ma Musu's family , The Liberian Police refused to put Ma Musu in a government vehicle to transport her to seek immediately medical attention .
As you may be aware that Liberia is one of the many countries in West Africa that is known to have tough rape laws. However, with all the punishments that are laid out for a rapist, rape cases are still on the increase with over 150 men currently languishing in jails. Last year, over 500 cases of rape were reported to the Liberian National Police; rape remains a non-billable crime in Liberia. Jail sentence for rape cases ranges of ten (10) years to life in prison depending on the gravity and circumstances that led to the crime. International non- governmental organizations and the government of Liberia have and continue to invest millions of dollars in the quest to minimize the cases of rape in the country.
Despite the fact that Liberia's laws and punishment on rape is tough, many Liberian parents are wondering; why rape cases are on the rise in Liberia? . Historically, the issue of rape was the norm during the fourteen (14) years of civil conflict in Liberia. Many victims of rape would testify today as to how the most powerful rebels or soldiers slept with women of their choice and in many instances, most female victims didn't resist because they were afraid of getting killed.
In fact, Gang rape was like a game of sport to rebel groups. Additionally, many soldiers during the civil war were child soldiers who were recruited by means of force and drugs influence. Today, many of those recruited child soldiers are now adults who are integrated into the communities without adequate rehabilitation programs like a psycho social counseling, treatment for behaviors' modification, etc. Interestingly, the police noted that Ma Musu Attacker was an ex-combatant.
The questions then become , how can we adequately address the issue of rape and how do we prevent rape from occurring or increasing in Liberia ?
I asked these question because the government agencies charged with the responsibility for promoting the fight against rape in Liberia have focused lots of energy and resources in advocating for tougher laws and pursuing legal actions against the perpetrators of rape crimes . While it true that punishment helps to deter crime; there is a greater need for a proactive measure to be adapted .
The Gender Ministry, the Ministry of Health , and civil society organizations in the country need to invest more time and resources in the following areas ; massive awareness , education , empowerment , Increase security and social services in isolated communities , setup rehabilitation centers to provide free psychosocial counseling and treatment for behaviors modification , setup a central information command to collect and distribute data on suspected and confirmed cases of rape , train and deploy mobile counselors in various school districts , prosecute parents who indirectly expose their children to rape crime , and implement the child custody laws .
About the author: Musa Willie is a humanitarian and social justice advocate; he is the Founder & Executive Director of Education Care Africa; a US based 501C3 non-profit organization that helps provide logistics and safe learning environment for primary schools kids in Liberia. Willie is also a well known social media commentator. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice with several diplomas and certificates in other field of studies.
He can be reached @ firstname.lastname@example.org - 267-808-1018