– As parents compromised the case for LD7K

Image of the survivor & alleged perpetrator’s parents’ home in Mount Barclay

By: Jerromie S. Walters

Women voices have been reliably informed that the parents of Hawa, a 13-year-old minor who was recently reportedly raped by their landlord’s 23-year-old son, James Tamba, have agreed to allow the alleged perpetrator to walk with impunity after they were allegedly given $LRD7, 000 by the alleged perpetrator’s parents and assured to have the survivor treated at any hospital of their choice.

According to our source, who provided reasons for anonymity, the arrangement was made on Sunday, July 2, 2023, at a meeting held at the survivor’s parents’ residence in Mount Barclay Community. “The meeting was held on Sunday at their house, where they live together. The boy’s parents gave $7,000 to the girl’s father and promised to take the survivor to any hospital of their choice”, our source unearthed.

Hawa (Not her real name) was raped by 23-year-old James Tamba on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at 9:00 p.m. at their three-room residence in the Adam and Eve Royal community, Mount Barclay, Johnsonville Township, after the alleged perpetrator, who is a motorcyclist, returned from out.

“The boy came late from riding his bike and knocked on the door. The 13-year-old girl opened the door, and he asked her to help him put the bike in, which she did. After helping him, he held her mouth and had sex with her. He told her if she talked about it, he would kill her. I get bad medicine”, our source revealed.

The 13-year-old survivor, little Hawa (Not her real name), reportedly bled severely after the act was committed. As disclosed by our source, she’s currently battling unbearable vaginal odor, stomach pain, and uncontrollable weakness, but the parents are pressing on her to keep quiet.

As they both entered their home, he immediately attacked her and forcefully made love to her, an act that instantly led to severe bleeding. Following the incident, it was said that the alleged survivor delayed informing her parents because of the death threat made by the alleged perpetrator.

However, this couldn’t stop it, as her physical structure gave her parents reasons to believe that she wasn’t okay, even though they never thought about rape. Hawa later informed her parents after they experienced severe bleeding. However, they couldn’t go further because they conspired with the alleged perpetrator’s parents after they accepted their offers and after he admitted that he did rape the minor.

Meanwhile, this has left the minor in meaningless distress as she continues to experience the different effects while the alleged perpetrator has resumed his regular activities. With all of these, Hawa remains in a traumatic situation that has also had significant physical, emotional, and psychological effects on her.

On September 11, 2020, President George W. Bush issued a proclamation declaring rape a national emergency. The decision by the President followed the successful conclusion of a 2-day National Anti-Rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Conference that was convened by the Government to validate the National Roadmap on Rape and SGBV produced by the Inter-ministerial Taskforce set up by him a few weeks ago.

In remarks at the end of the national stakeholders’ conference on September 9 and following the receipt of the communiqué derived from deliberations at the conference, the Feminist-In-Chief promised that his administration would move with deliberate speed in ensuring that commendations presented would be judiciously and expeditiously addressed.

The declaration of the National Rape Emergency on Friday, September 11, 2020, which came barely two days out of the national anti-rape conference held on September 8–9, 2020, fulfilled that promise of the President and his zero-tolerance stance on rape and SGBV.

Under the National Rape Emergency, President Weah declared initial measures that include the appointment of a Special Prosecutor for rape, the setting up of a National Sex Offender Registry, the establishment of a National Security Taskforce on SGBV, and the allotment of an initial amount of US$2 Million to beef up the fight against rape and SGBV in the country.

Speaking following the issuance of the proclamation, President Weah said his administration would spare no effort in ensuring that the rape and SGBV epidemics scourging the country are curtailed.

Chapter 14, Subchapter D (a)2 (Sexual offenses) of the Panel Law of Liberia, describes the offense of rape as a person who has sexual intercourse with another person (male or female) and has committed rape if he/she intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with a foreign object or with any other part of the body (other than the penis)”.

If the allegation made by Satta is true, it will be described as a felony rape of the first degree, as Chapter 14, Subchapter D (Grading and Sentencing) (a)1 of the penal law provides that “Rape is a felony of the first degree where the victim was less than 18 years of age at the time the offense was committed.”

According to Chapter 14, Subchapter D (Grading and Sentencing) (b) of the Penal Law, “The maximum sentence for first-degree rape shall be life imprisonment, and for the purposes of this bill it shall be treated as a capital offense under Section 13.1.1: Capital Offenses of the Criminal Procedure Law.”

Months ago, the U.S. State Department’s Liberia 2022 Human Rights Report revealed that the government did not enforce the law effectively last year and that rape remained a serious and pervasive problem.

Rape of a woman or man in Liberia is illegal, but as provided by the report, the law’s definition of rape does not specifically criminalize spousal rape. “According to an INCHR report, perpetrators of rape enjoyed widespread impunity, in part because bureaucratic obstacles restricted the number of cases that could be heard in each judicial term as well as the institutional weaknesses of government agencies tasked with combating sexual violence”.

The report noted that an inefficient justice system prevented timely prosecutions, and delays caused many survivors to cease cooperating with prosecutors.

It also established that authorities often dropped cases due to a lack of evidence, as Government officials allegedly committed acts of sexual violence.

As is obviously proven, research has shown that Rape can result in physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, broken bones, and internal injuries. Survivors of rape often experience a range of intense emotions, including fear, anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, and sadness. They may also develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can include nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance, and avoidance of triggers.

Rape survivors may develop various mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts. The experience of rape can impact survivors’ ability to trust others and form healthy relationships. Intimacy and sexual difficulties may also arise.

It’s also a known fact that Rape can have a significant impact on a survivor’s social and occupational life. They may experience difficulties maintaining friendships, attending school or work, and participating in social activities.

Additionally, Survivors often struggle with feelings of self-blame and shame, even though it is important to remember that rape is never the fault of the survivor. It’s important to note that everyone’s experience is unique, and individuals may respond differently to the trauma of rape. If you or someone you know has been affected by rape, it is crucial to seek support from professionals such as therapists, counselors, or support groups specializing in trauma and sexual assault.

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