Minister Duncan-Cassell made the claim on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at a “2015 Cabinet Retreat” chair4ed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on her private farm, Julijuah, in Bomi County.
During the retreat, government ministries and agencies presented agendas for the next three years and highlighted achievements and failures.
Liberia’s Education Minister, Madam Etmonia David-Tarpeh, confirmed the Gender Minister’s claim against school teachers here.
Notwithstanding, President Sirleaf said a full program is needed and ideas are being sought as to how girls’ education can be emphasized as what government could do both policy and resource-wise, and expressed concerns that too many girls are in either early marriage or prostitution.
The President recounted that every week, she receives report from the Special Representative of the Secretary General or SRSG, of rape cases with the victims predominantly between ages three and four, which she described as inhumane.
With the mounting rape cases unfolding in Liberia, the next alternative proffered by President Sirleaf is to have names of perpetrators publicized in every quarter with posters reading, “wanted for rape” everywhere in addition to the court process.
The Gender Minister had said once rape perpetrators have been charged, they should be named and shamed in communities.
But according to her, “…they come out of jail and then they go back and start teaching again,” and added, “most of the perpetrators are teachers.”
“I’m sorry teachers, if you’re sitting out there, but most of our cases for the young children – that is putting the children on their lap. The perpetrators are male teachers, until we can get more female teachers back in the class room,” she continued.
The Gender Minister said she was not being sentimental, arguing that a look at rape cases would show that out of every one hundred rape cases, you got one woman as perpetrator, and suggested the need to publish the names of both males and females rapists.
In an interview with Education Minister Madam Etmonia David-Tarpeh in Julijuah, she cconfirmed the accusation against the teachers, saying, it was unfortunate and the realities were that girls were not raping girls.
“So most of the rape cases that have come along, the victims have been the girls; the perpetrators have been male teachers. But we would have, fortunately for us this school year, we have developed a kind of guideline that all the schools as we speak now are receiving because they’re going through orientation for the teachers,” Minister Tarpeh said.
Besides the accusation made by Minister Duncan-Cassell against teachers, others highlighted some bad social practices here that they believed are immensely contributing to poor performance among students, mainly girls.
A Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Thomas Gbokie, Jr. also commented that some older men in the society were taking advantage of poor girls in need of help by abusing them.
By Winston W. Parley