With frequent reports of rape cases emanating from Brewerville, the town has now been declared by the Liberian government as a ‘rape prone’ community.
Government took the decision last Friday when it launched “Public Awareness Raising and Education on Sexual Gender Base Violence (SGBV) and Rape in the area with the intention of remembering a 12-year old second grade student, Musu Morris, who was raped to death by a 42-year-old man, Musa Kromah early this year.
The exercise, organized by the SGBV Crimes Unit of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), was held in the auditorium of the Ellen Mills Scarborough Elementary and Junior High School in Brewerville.
It was the school which the late Musu attended when she was raped to death, a community resident told the Daily Observer.
Madam Fatu Morris, the mother of Musu, was among several who spoke at the gathering. She expressed shock about the manner and form in which children continued to be raped, some of them fatally.
“What I want to say to our children here today is that you need to be careful with yourselves, because those evil people who raped my daughter to death in this area are still living among us, and if you are not careful, you could be the next victim,” Madam Morris advised the students as she sobbed.
Up to the holding of the program over the weekend, a student, Marthaline Wreh, who was a close friend of the late Musu, with tears in her eyes, has yet to believe that her friend was raped to death.
“It was surprising to me when a neighbor told me that my friend was raped to death by one Kromah with the nickname, “CDC.” We wonder why he did such a wicked thing to my friend,” student Wreh said in disbelief.
“I am still afraid whenever I hear that children are being raped in this our Brewerville Community, and I want for the government to act quickly to protect the girl children from being victims of rape like Musu. Ms. Wreh expressed the need for the government to intervene urgently to stop this terrible problem in the community.
Solicitor General, Cllr. Betty Lamin Blamo, who launched the program, called on residents of the community to join the campaign and see it as “their own,” because she believes government cannot do it alone.
“We need a collaborative approach in the fight against rape that is gradually destroying the future of our country. The school, parents and you the students, have to help us achieve our objective by making Brewerville a rape-free community,” Cllr. Lamin Blamo pleaded with the audience, majority of whom were students and teachers.
“We need to take this campaign very seriously, like what we did with the Ebola virus, because so many children have been sexually abused, and others have died in this one Brewerville area,” Cllr. Blamo added.
She said, “I have on a T-Shirt that carries the face of someone who used to be a student in your school. Some of you may have known her when she was a student here. She is no more here with you, because she has died of rape.”
Cllr. Blamo reminded the students saying, “Musu is dead because she was raped; this is why we have assembled in your school not just to talk about her death, but to also talk with you because you are alive. And we don’t want you to be the next victim.”
“Musu came to school because she wanted to fulfill her dream of becoming a better person in life. She wanted to be someone; she could have become the next government lawyer like me or like President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, but she did not live to see her dream come true because someone raped her to death,” Cllr. Blamo said as she wept.
She recounted that Musu was not the only child that has died as the result of being raped in the community, adding, “Besides Musu, several other children have been raped to death in this community. If we as a government fail to do something very urgently about this heinous crime, many of you people would die like those who were raped to death before you. We don’t want to hear any more rape cases in this area. That is why we are here to work with the community to protect you from being raped,” Cllr. Blamo assured the community.
‘What we want you to do for us is to report those cases of rape, report people, like your teachers, step fathers, male students, who constantly touch your breast and knock on your butt, because this is how they can start to do the bad thing (rape) to you.”
She said suspect Kromah was arrested and subsequently put behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison awaiting trial.
“Kromah, the man who raped Musu to death, has been detained and is awaiting trial. We are not sitting down; we have already indicted (charged) him,” she said.
Cllr. Blamo emphasized that prosecuting rapists was important but it was time for the community and the government to focus on creating more awareness in the area, which she described as “rape prone.”
For her part, Atty. Josephine Grose, prosecutor and program officer of the Sex and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Unit at MOJ said, rape has become a very critical issue in the country. She pledged government’s robust action to put an end to the act.
Statistically, it was learnt that during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, her agency recorded 134 rape cases.
“Out of that figure we were able to prosecute only seven and for this year alone, we have also recorded over 200 rape cases.”