560 Victims of Rape in Nine Months; Rapes Done In Broad Daylight – A statistical report in the Liberian Capital, Monrovia, has shown that 560 victims of rape have been reported from January up to the present, with most of the perpetrators of rape not using masks to conceal their identities. In addition the crimes are not even committed at night, but during broad daylight, without care for the consequences, the report said.
The report, gathered from the MSF (Doctors Without Borders) Belgium Clinics on Bushrod Island, was culled from the public clinics in Clara and New Kru Towns. Both communities are two of Monrovia’s slum communities in which crimes and all kinds of violence are on the increase on a daily basis.
The statistics was revealed by Patricia Kamara, Assistant Minister for Research and Technical Services at the Ministry of Gender and Development during a two-day Gender and Development Ministry organized workshop for media practitioners in Monrovia. The workshop focused on how the Liberian media can help to reduce occurrences of rape in Liberia.
The researcher noted that more than 80% of the victims who have survived are less than 19 years old, and the majority of them are between the ages of 13 to 18, closely followed by 5 to 12 years old.
The Assistant Minister lamented that the youngest survivor, now at a safe home, is 18 months old and that the child’s case was reported to her ministry in February of this year, while the oldest survivor is 62 years of age, which was reported in July of this year.
“I know the survivors knew and trusted their perpetrators, had confidence in them, and the survivors looked up to them for protection. Some of the survivors were abused by one perpetrator and 18% of the survivors experienced gang rape. Maybe the perpetrators could be from the same community, same neighbors or friends, or relatives,” Mrs. Kamara added.
Mrs. Kamara added that sexual harassment also increased during the 14 years of armed conflict.
“Liberians thought that since peace has been restored in the country, sexual based violence against women and children would have been decreased, but, this is not the case, it continues to increase on a daily basis, especially when these people know that the survivors know them,” Mrs. Kamara said.
“Maybe, the perpetrators are unconscious of the gravity of the acts, he has been doing it over and over and nothing comes out of it, so I can go ahead and do it again. And the consequences that may result from it, they don’t want to know,” she told reporters.
Kamara remembered an incident earlier this year, which took place in the provincial capital of Liberia’s northern Lofa County, Vionjama. Mrs. Kamara told the participants that she visited Lofa and met an alleged perpetrator of rape in a cell, who had earlier raped a little child and was released. He later raped the daughter of the woman who had given him a place to stay after his release, while she had gone to the market.