In America most rape victims today find support from personal family, close friends and both the legal and medical system when a victim of rape. American’s have worked hard in changing previous ideations involving violence against a person, and in cases of rape hold the rapist accountable for the violence he or she inflicts on the victim, especially when the rape victim is an eight-year-old child.
Rape is a violent act of dominance and the act of rape is not about the sex itself but about controlling and having power over the victim. Times are truly changing when one reads about four people holding an eight-year-old down and violating her. What is even more horrifying than 4 people raping and eight year old girl is that the rapist are all minor themselves, ages 9-14. How in the world do nine, ten, thirteen, and fourteen boys know how to lure, restrain, and rape another child?
Sadly, the little girl who survived this violent rape now resides in foster care because of her family’s cultural belief that she has caused them shame. The child and her family are recent refugees from a war-ravaged Liberia. Liberia is a West African country that has lived through decades of violent civil wars. Amnesty International has an ongoing campaign to “Stamp out Rape,” they estimate 2/3’s of Liberian woman, and children have been a victim of sexual violence. Until December 2006, rape was legal in Liberia.
Yet rape continues to go unpunished in Liberia. A rapist pays the victims family money to keep the crime unreported. This settlement tactic endangers Liberian women and children because when rape is unreported, the rapist remains free to continue to inflict violence on those he wishes.
In Liberia, family traditionally shunned rape victims because Liberians believe the woman caused the rape. Even the eight-year-old victim’s sister has voiced an opinion saying she feels bad for boys, and hopes they are soon set free from jail. Why does she feel this way, because “they are our people?”
The 14-year-old has been is charged as an adult in the crime and I hope and pray that the legal system in America does not fail an eight-year-old child whose family left Liberia looking for a relief from the violence that prevails in their home land. I also hope all the boys receive intensive treatment to find out what can cause a 9, 10, or 13 year old to participate in this kind of violence.
I pray the little girl’s family is educated to understand what rape involves and that their 8-year-old daughter and sister did not cause her own rape. She deserves to be safe where ever she calls home.