Julia Gibson, writing in the Liberian Times, sharply criticized the rise in cases of sexual abuse of Liberian girls in schools. “Most of us who follow the news from Liberia may have read of the escalation of pregnancy of students, allegedly by teachers. This shameful and unethical practice is, if not illegal, is not new in Liberia.” However, she notes, the rise of gender equity ideas in her country have now made what previously was an accepted reality of life in Liberia, a topic of concern. She points out “in the sixties and seventies I recall female students were also in intimate relationships with teachers in order to get good grades” and these girls even had a nickname from others who referred to them as “teacher pets.”
The practice of students in many parts of Africa being compelled to subject themselves to sexual abuse or be required to pay bribes for good grades is all too common. Ms. Gibson notes the new idea of a Gender Ministry is now affording females government support against the abuse to which they have been subjected. Perhaps, criminal prosecution of some teachers might assist in reducing this problem.