A Liberian official came to Phoenix today to represent the Liberian government in talks between authorities and the families involved in the alleged rape of an 8-year-old girl last month.
Edwin, Sele, Liberia's deputy chief of missions in the United States, seems to be coming to the Valley to defend the besmirched reputation of his West African country, as well.
As we all know, after the girl was allegedly raped, it was rumored that her parents shunned the victim for allowing herself to get raped in the first place, and some say they even tried to disown the child.
"I don't know what mother, even in a situation like this, would disown her child," Sele tells the Liberian Daily Observer. "This case has been widely publicized, and families do not want the stigmatization that comes with a case like this."
Sele tried to play off comments made by the mother of the girl after the incident as misunderstandings because of the language barrier and cultural differences. He says the child's mother may have expressed a sense of shame in her grief, but that it did not necessarily mean that she did not want her child.
Sele wants to dispel any rumors that rape is part of Liberia's culture.
"Liberia has one of the strongest anti-rape laws in Africa," he says. "It was not condoned before the war, and it is not condoned now. Liberians are a civilized and law-abiding people, and we encourage our people to continue to abide by the laws of the United States."
Having the "strongest anti-rape laws in Africa," really isn't saying much, and "civilized by comparison," is often used as an excuse on that continent.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.