Liberia - Statutory Rape
[Cool Teen Sites]
July 5, 1999
Rape of minor girls on the rise in Liberia
Monrovia, Liberia - Police and doctors have given an appalling account of a sharp increase
number of rape cases involving male adults defiling minor girls in Monrovia, the Liberian
Police director Joseph Tate told a news conference last week that most of the victims of
perpetrated by middle-aged men were girls "below the age of 15 years" and 24
such cases had been
reported in the first half of the year.
Tate cited two instances in which a 43-year-old man raped a six-year-old girl, and another
involving a 27-year-old man who also violated a girl of six.
"This is just from Monrovia. The figures may be more if we get those from other parts
country," the police chief said.
One police officer explained that some of the victims were little girls being used by
their parents to
peddle goods at street corners and in their communities from where they are lured by older
men under the pretext of wanting to transact business.
Pathologist Isaac Moses at the John F Kennedy Medical Centre said: "What makes it
is that of late most of the victims fall below the age of 10."
"I am appalled by the rabidity of older men forcing minors into sexual
intercourse," he said, adding that
"such rape cases are being reported on a weekly basis" at the hospital.
He told journalists that the situation has reached "an alarming proportion. So it is
appropriate to raise the
alarm to create national awareness".
Most rape cases are referred to Moses who prepares a medical report used by police in
prosecute the culprits. The doctor said reasons forthe rape of minors range from adults
precaution against contracting the HIV/AIDS to a "natural passion" to have sex
The offenders are also taking advantage of the hardship faced in the country which
male and female minors to fend for themselves after a devastating seven-year civil war.
A recent health ministry report stated that Monrovia is topping the list with 107 HIV/AIDS
the highest prevalence among the age group of 20-29.
Other doctors at the hospital told this reporter that "the probability is high"
that many rape cases are not
reported to the hospital or police when the culprit and the family of the victim strike a
wherein some money is paid as "damages and the child treated clandestinely".
The doctors did not mince words in expressing disdain about the practice "getting out
of hand", and
calling on government to ensure that the culprits "bear the full weight of the
A child rights advocate group said it is worried that "the doers of this ugly act
(child rape) usually go
away with impunity".
The Committee of Journalists for the Protection of Children's Rights said it wants
enforce the law making the rape of children by adults a first degree felony.
Under current Liberian law, rape is a first degree felony if the rapist inflicts serious
bodily injuries on
the victim, and faces the death penalty or life imprisonment.
The law also stipulates that sexual intercourse with a girl below 16 years is
"statutory rape" because the
individual (girl) has no capacity to give "mental consent" to the act.
Rape is punishable by a definite prison term not to exceed 10 years, according to the new
of the Liberian law. The committee said it believes "enforcing the law to the letter
will eradicate the
rampant raping of little girls who are left with painful, indelible psychological and
medical scars which
have an adverse effect on their lives".