Liberia: Rape Is Bad

Talking with children in our Community, my Wife Fatu and I are always asking them this question: What is the most important thing that we are trying to teach you? The children reply: To know the difference between good and bad and to do good always. To do good is caring for others rather than caring for just yourself. To do good is to be selfless rather than to be selfish. 

This lesson about good and bad is most important now than ever before because the societal situation is getting worse with the many rape convictions and allegations. The latest news about rape is the alleged rape of a three years old girl by a 17 years old boy in the Soul Clinic Community, Paynesville, Montserrado County, Liberia. Although we can not condemn the boy because this rape situation is an allegation, we can condemn the many rape situations that have convicted persons through the Court of Law. The guilty persons include boys, girls, men and women.

Many of the rape cases have ended up with girls getting pregnant. These rape cases combined with non-rape pregnancies have made Liberia to have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. The latest pregnancy wahala is coming from Rivercess County, one of the poorest counties in Liberia. 

With many boys and girls wearing torn trousers and appearing almost naked in public, some people see this situation as promoting rape. This situation can also be seen in churches, where some persons, including adults, go showing off their bodies. But the point of the matter is that rape is bad, even when it is not pormoted by "fashion". Therefore, rapists and potential rapists must not use the body exposure technique as an excuse for raping. In fact, one Legislator saw a nude photo of a fellow partisan, a public figure, and remarked that women  and girls will vote for him because he looked good. With many leaders involved in immoral practices, they can not tell the truth to save humanity.

A Nigerian movie on Cinema + Africa captures the rape situation very well. In this movie, the daughter of a Bishop gets druged  and raped by a male church member and she became pregnant on account of the rape. The Bishop forced his daughter to get married to the rapist, saying that he was protecting his hard earned reputation from societal scandal. When the daughter was about to deliver, the rapist beat her until she lost the pregnancy. With the evidence of the beating provided by two female neighbors, the Mother, Wife of the Bishop, had the rapist taken to court and jailed. But the Bishop used his influence to have the rapist released from jail.

After the daughter lost her baby, she went to her parents for rescue. After a few months at her parents' home, she was forced by the Bishop, her Father, to return to the rapist. But with the evidence of the rapist bringing in prostitutes to his house, the Mother took the rapist to court again and he was jailed after he was found guilty for his immoral and criminal acts. Then the Mother divorced the Bishop. The Mother found an apartment in which she and her daughter lived. Fortunately, there were others who appreciated the move made by the Mother and her daughter.

Inspired by this Nigerian movie, I have written this Commentary about rape. Also, I am performing my duty and taking responsibility as a Board member of the Liberian Women Initiative (LWI) and a Spokesperson on Gender Sensitivity of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL). Hopefully, this Commentary will inspire others to do the right thing by taking action through mass conscientization with the Rule of Law to prevent rape.

About the author: Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Board Member, Liberian Women Initiative (LWI), Spokesperson on Gender Sensitivity, Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL)