Hilath Rasheed of Haveeru continues to advocate for the issues of sexually abused children in the Maldives, with yet another article in the paper, this time in Divehi. Some critical points from his article are listed below:
- A child was considered to have consented to sex (rape) at the age of twelve, by the Court.
- So-called consensual sex with a minor is actually “statutory rape”.
- Social stigmas compel child sex abuse to be shelved as “family secrets” and therefore, are not often reported, according to former Minister of Women’s Affairs.
- One in every six women have experienced sexual abuse before the age of fifteen. Statistics on sexual abuse of boys are not available.
- Victims of sexual abuse are married off to pedophiles, in Maldives, under pretense as a measure for “the protection of the child”.
- Pedophiles have been pardoned and continue to be pardoned under presidential amnesties.
- Gender Ministry is now trying to contain the outbreak of disgust, despite being the one initially to expose the extent of child sexual abuse in the country.
What can we do as concerned citizens? How can we support Hilath in his efforts to bring the case of child sexual abuse out of the closet?