FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

20 August 2014

Liberia: Castrate Rapists - Gender Minister Wants Harsh Punishment

Monrovia — Liberia's Minister for Gender and Development wants harsher punishment for people who rape.

"Even though, men are the fathers, but if they are found raping, they should be castrated, so that it would serve as a deterrent to other men," says Gender Minster Julia Duncan Cassel.

With many Liberians being disappointed in the Anti-rape law as they believe it is not strong enough to deter men from raping, Minister Cassel, said progress has been made in reporting rape cases, but also admitted that the law is not strong enough to keep men from committing the act.

"We are going to ask AFELL to look at the rape law again, because maybe something is in it that makes it weak. But I would say rape is being reported more frequently than before, because when I was a young girl coming up, I never heard about rape, not that it did not happen in the past, but it was not reported, like now that we have a female president," lamented Minister Cassell.

During an exclusive interview before the Ebloa outbreak in Liberia, Minister Cassell disclosed that her ministry usually goes around the Country and holds meetings with men and ask if they are caught raping, what should be done to them.

"Some men said, good men don't rape, but if I am caught, cut off my private part. But would you believe that women who are supposed to be advocating against rape, said; because man is the breadwinner, so he should not go to jail for life, or who would take care of his family? So this is what we have to deal with all the time from women."

Inserting that most of the cases reported are children because the women are afraid to report rape, due to stigmatization, Minister Cassel sadly noted that they lose many of the cases because Criminal Court "E" usually says there is no evidence.

"The reason is that, many of the perpetrators are family members and victim families don't press charges, while people compromise cases because of money. Sometimes the victim's family knows the person or maybe or that person is a breadwinner, or a community leader."

Boys agree to castration

Speaking about the cases reported, Minister Cassel said they had over fifteen cases of children from all over the country that died of rape, and the youngest was a three year old girl who had also died of rape. In agreement to what Minister Cassel, some school children, especially boys said men should be castrated if they are found raping a little girl, old enough to be their daughters.

"This lesson of cutting men private parts should be done to the older men who won't leave the small girls alone. Even if she is under age and ask you for money, you should not sleep with her because it would be statutory rape," says Gabriel Williams, of the Assembly of God Mission School in Monrovia.

"As for me, I am against rape because I have many sisters, and what I do not want people doing to my sisters, I should not also do it to someone else's sister," Joseph Kolleh, of the AGM School in Monrovia also said.

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