Liberia: Sexual Exploitations Not Only in Schools, Laymah

One of Liberia’s two winners of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has of late been at the core of the Liberian news media. Major radio news and newspaper headlines highlighted Madam Laymah Gbowee latest advocacy against “sexual exploitation and abuse of girls” in Liberia. In her revelation, Madam Gbowee accused teachers working in schools operating in some rural areas of the country of “engaging in sexual exploitation” against female students in those parts of the country.

Media reports suggested that although Nobel Laureate Gbowee could not reveal the names of the male teachers she referred to, she further disclosed that they were also involved in impregnating students in some instances, alarming that such situation was a serious situation. The Nobel Laureate named Margibi and Gbarpolu as places where such sexual exploitation and abuses are prevalent.

“About two years ago, we had a gathering of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and young girls at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, and these young girls laid out issues of sexual exploitation and abuse in schools; One of the little girls told the story of how this teacher pestered her for sex until she and her brother (names not disclosed) had to get camera to follow him;

Another one (young female) told the story how she got into a school as a result of a sport scholarship and the Sports Director of that school had sex with her every other day for the time that she was enrolled in that school,” Laymah told one of the local dailies-the Heritage on April 5.

The paper quoted her as recalling that since the Liberian civil war, there have been serious morality issues in the country, suggesting that Sexual exploitation and abuse of girls in our schools are not things that we should allow to slide unnoticed, “because if they continue to slide unnoticed, how can we ensure that girls get to the place that we want them to get to, how do we ensure that we get the right people?”

She emphasized the need for the government, through the Ministry of Education, to weed out and prosecute perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse against female students. While the Liberian Nobel Laureate must be appreciated and even praised for outcry against this unfortunate situation confronting girls in rural Liberian schools, such advocacy is of course, long overdue.

The Laureate must be informed that sexual exploitation and abuses against girls (or women) cannot be attributed to the Liberian civil war as she insinuated. Such “immoral and devilish attitude” has characterized the nature of some of her male counterparts far beyond the civil war.

Moreover, Laymah may just be intentionally ignoring the numerous reports of the high rate of the sexual exploitations and abuses occurring daily in communities and at work places, including local and international NGOs before her own eyes, and not only in schools in Rural Liberia or Monrovia. Other than singling out the schools, Madam Gbowee’s approach to exposing such unbearable should have been holistic.

For the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner to even recommend to the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of education, to weed out and prosecute “perpetrators of sexual exploitations and abuses” in schools without any form of investigation is something many well-meaning Liberians would beg to disagree with-there must first be an investigation before such actions are taken, she should have first recommended.

Even if she has ion her possession the names of the schools and teachers she referred to, an investigation will still have to be conducted. Other than the foregoing, there must be no qualms with the issue of sexual exploitations and abuses as raised by Madam Laymah Gbowee recently.


Posted by on Apr 20 2012. Filed under African News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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