Contrary to the main reason why hundreds of women from District #17, Montserrado County gathered on the grounds of the capitol building to protest, the alleged victim broke silence indicating that the accusation is false and misleading.
“I didn’t even know what was happening here at the capitol building about me being raped by my Uncle, Hon. Hanson Kiazolu. I was never raped and will never be raped by him”, Massa Princess Kiazolu said.
Protesters of the Thursday, January 16, 2020 protest alleged that Hon. Kiazolu, Representative of District 17, Montserrado County had raped his niece and made settlements by sending the victim into hiding for fear of public reprisal due to his status. The representative has since denied the allegation.
The dramatic protest earlier took another trend when counter-protesters chanting slogans in support of Hon. Kiazolu stormed the grounds of capital, leading to a chaotic scene with huge clashes and stone throw that resulted in bodily wounds of both anti and pro protesters.
During the reading of the petition, the protesters called on the House of Representatives for speedy investigation of Hon. Kiazolu over what they termed as an evil act perpetrated against Massa. They also raised alarms over the rise in the number of cases of Sexual and Gender-based violence across Liberia that need urgent attention from the National Government.
As though their calls for a holistic approach to SGBV issues came with a back-stab when the alleged victim mentioned that the planned protest was a way of gaining political relevance from the lawmaker. “Hon Kiazolu is a kindhearted person. I lived with him since I was age zero to 23 years old, he’s been sending me to school from primary to university level, and right now I am a senior student at the AME Zion University. All that is going on is a mere political makeup from his opponents who he beat during the elections. I can take an oath that this is a lie. I have no issue with Hon. Kiazolu and will never”.
Often the compromise of rape in Liberia has been increasingly high due to political relevance, family union and association, among other things. Massa claimed that she is not shielding any act of rape that is being alleged. “How can a 23 years old woman like me be raped and I am not able to say it. I believe those women are only using my name as a tool to get at the honorable.
When quizzed whether she was in the know of the women’s group protest, she responded, “I was in the hospital when I got a call that people are here attacking him of rape, no one ever called me to say that we’re going to the capitol building to protest for your business”.
In Liberia, issues of stigma and discrimination relating to rape remain very high, actors and activists of gender issues have struggled to help reduce the menace.
After denying the allegation, Massa complained of a prolonged stigma from community members and residents of the district, which she indicated has caused serious embarrassment for me over the period.
“This is embarrassing because when I am walking in the street people can be talking and pointing fingers behind me saying…here’s the girl who Hon. Kiazolu raped—and that didn’t happen”.
Massa confirmed that she is happily married and they are expecting their baby anytime soon. “My husband doesn’t have any misunderstanding about my pregnancy because people keep saying that the belly I have is for Hon. Kiazolu.
Massa vowed to seek legal redress for those falsifying information and using social media to malign her character. “Right after here I am going to court and all those involved will face the law”.