Standing United Against Rape in Liberia
Rape is evil. We have had enough of rape cases. Again we are happy that even the most appalling and disgraceful cases are being reported against parents, pastors, imams and even those in higher places. This is good news. We now need to be united against rape in terms of society responses and built internal capacity to deal with the cases. In this article, I am writing to contribute on ways we can reduce the opportunities for Pedophiles to achieve their objectives. I am aware that kids as young as some days old are molested. For this, we need to alert parents that for their children, no man can be trusted. Ensure that you are always closer. Be vigilant, know the men around you and only trust people who have proven it. If your husband, brother and friend is promiscuous, he/she is already a suspect.
For grown up girls we must draw from best practices using cultural, statutory and conventional rules to engage. This is why we must engage the public to invest in community engagement and participation. We need fresh thinking about teaching children the protective measures- just like first aid classes.
Many of us are worried and still worry about the issue of rape. Let us engage communities to establish an innovative culturally sensitive and legally guiding means to teach, create awareness and built safety nest in the way people bring up their children in Liberia.
Let us tackle this issue from all angles. Reducing the possibility of rape incidences by tackling drives and evil thoughts — more so limiting opportunities for pedophiles to ever achieve their objectives.
For instance, can we design a way to dialogue on Liberian parents who allow or let their children more specifically the girls to strip naked and take a bath in public places, by the road side, or exposing kids to men without thinking the possibility of a rape?
How can we teach sexuality to boys and girls so that our men will not behave like animals? Some in fact are so shameless, they just pull down their zips at any place to pee in the public. Some openly play with girls’ breast or body without being sensitive that it is already a crime to do so.
How can we ensure that discussions about private parts and about sexual organs, women’s breasts and men’s chests are discussed with children by the time they start to talk? We must ensure that private parts are not exposed or seen in public.
How can we instill Liberia’s cultural values where at an early age children are taught not to pull up their dresses and show off their underwear let alone their private parts?
How can we encourage our girls and boys to report anyone who ever goes as far as touching their thighs? They should be made to understand that whoever does that is there to hurt them.
This is just one part of reducing opportunities for rapist. We need the community and the culture to become vigilant and remain at work to protect the children. We need community solutions added to a call to government and partners to invest in building a forensic lab, training a small size of specialized investigators, prosecutors and legal minded team and social workers to specifically handle these cases.
This article was inspired by a contribution from one of my colleagues from Zimbabwe who is now a Liberian. Thanks SINIKIWE