Phoenix Family Shuns Gang Raped 8-Year-Old Girl

24 07 2009

In Phoenix, four boys from Liberia aged 9, 10, 13, and 14 lured an 8-year-old Liberian girl to a shed on pretense of getting some gum. There they held her down and took turns brutally gang raping her. Police responded to reports of her hysterical screams and saw the four boys running away from the shed.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, according to an Associated Press report today, police Sgt. Andy Hill said the father of the raped girl:

…told the case worker and an officer in her presence that he didn’t want her back. He said “Take her, I don’t want her.”

Liberia has been emerging from 14 years of civil war and a culture of rape, and is one of the few African countries that has outlawed rape (in 2006). Although this is beginning to change, for many years in the Liberian culture, the crime was not as important as the shame to the family of a daughter being raped. The girl is now in state custody to protect her from her own family.

This is truly a tragic story. A little girl’s innocence and trust in people…and these were other children from her own culture…are now broken. Her own father has said he doesn’t want her and has said she has brought shame to the family. She did nothing wrong and yet was victimized by the rapists and her own family.

These young boys possibly saw this as a way to have some fun and yet their selfishness and cruelty has forever impacted this little girl’s life and the life of her family. The 14-year-old who was the ringleader will be tried as an adult with two counts of sexual assault and kidnapping. The other three boys were charged as juveniles with rape and two also with kidnapping…serious charges.

Senseless. Tragic. Horrendous. Life altering. Physically damaging. Emotionally damaging. Shameful. A lifetime of pain. The sexual assault on a child or an adult has real consequences that last a lifetime. And there’s nothing honorable about a family that shuns an 8-year-old little innocent girl who was gang raped. She needs all the love and support she can get after such an horrific experience. When will the African and Muslim families who consider “honor” more important than the welfare and well-being of their own children stop hiding behind that as a so-called religious precept and start standing up for what’s really important…love, kindness, acceptance, and understanding.

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5 responses

25 07 2009
Courtney

“n the Liberian culture, the crime is not as important as the shame to the family of a daughter being raped.”

I don’t know where you’re from or how much you’ve studied Liberian and African culture, so I can’t say that you know nothing about African history. Nor can I say that you’re completely wrong that in many African communities what happened to the little girl is a fact of life. But I can attest to the fact that the family to which the tragedy occurred to does not represent the whole of Liberia nor the people’s moral beliefs. So please do not judge an entire country based on the actions of a group of people.

“When will the African and Muslim families who consider “honor” more important than the welfare and well-being of their own children stop hiding behind that as a so-called religious precept and start standing up for what’s really important…love, kindness, acceptance, and understanding.”

Also, as much as I understand your viewpoint here, I think that your statement is condescending. Who are you to decide that someone else’s religion and culture is wrong and substitute it with your own ideas?

25 07 2009
Carole Clarke

You have to understand that to her family, the girl who would one day be offered in a marriage contract to a fellow Liberian was now used goods. Their worldview is the reverse of ours in the West. To them, the individual does not matter, only the clan or the tribe. Romantic love has no place and females can only fulfill their expected place in the concept. They have transported their culture to our country and expect it to be respected by us. Doesn’t the agency letting them in brief them on the cultural walls they will come up against? This covers genital mutilation of females, the eating of dogs/cats, the slaughtering of animals on religious festivals. What you wear or say is not as important as what you do. Religious animal sacrifice has not been practiced by Jews for thousands of years but Moslems still do it when they slaughter goats ritually for Eid al Fietr (sp?) If these people intend to stay here, I think they should forgo such practices that would really offend the American culture. One supposes they came here to escape a horror, not recreate it intact in this country. If they insist on thinking that a victimized child like this offends them, then they need to find somewhere else to live. I understand this is how things were in the old country but they are not there now and we have our own culture which needs to be respected by them as good guests.

25 07 2009
Sugabelly

@Carol Clarke: Hey, there is nothing wrong with slaughtering goats to eat. As long as it done humanely. I eat goats. They’re delicious. If I lived in America would I stop slaughtering goats? No. I would just find out if there were American legal guidelines for slaughtering animals and abide by them.

27 08 2009
dj

I am in agreement that this is a horrific cultural attitude that can’t be changed fast enough.

However, I am scratching my head trying to figure out why you are assuming the attitude is religious, or more particularly, Muslim?

This community of which both the girl and the perpetrators are members are a Christian community. Liberia is 20% Muslim and while ostensibly a “Christian” country consists of various indigenous religions, which of course help shape the culture.

This is a cultural problem spanning all religions in Liberia, it is not religious.

18 09 2009
Bill Bartmann

Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

A definite great read.. 🙂

-Bill-Bartmann

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