BARCLAYVILLE, Grand Kru – A traditional herbalist has been accused of raping an 18-year-old woman in Grand Kru’s Beloken Wedabo Statutory District.
According to police, Johnson Y. Brooks committed the act on July 27 at about 9 p.m. in the Beloken community along the Grand Cess Highway. Brooks allegedly called over the victim to his housing as she was passing by and snatched her lappa – a wraparound fabric used by many rural-dwelling women – and threw it in his room. He then told her to go get the lappa in his room – it was at this point that police say he raped her.
Grand Kru police have charged Brooks with rape and terroristic threats after the victim testified that he threatened to kill her if she reported the rape to anyone. Brooks, who lives with his wife and four children, admitted to the crime during preliminary investigations by the police. His case is waiting to be sent to court for trial.
The issue of rape has taken on a prominent role recently in public discourse, with many government officials weighing in, including the defense minister, Daniel Ziankahn, who called for capital punishment for the offense.
During a trip where she visited a rape survivor in Grand Cape Mount on July 22, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor said, “Ending rape and other harmful practices against women and girls, prosecuting these crimes, and providing the required level of support for the survivors requires each of us in this county to stand up, fight and take action.”
First Lady Clar Weah also made a statement on July 19 calling for religious institutions to do more to prevent rapes.
Featured photo by Jefferson Krua