A paedophile who had abused 35 children was arrested in January this year – when the news became public last week it sent shockwaves through the Maldives.
In a country where one in every six women has been abused before the age of 15, it is rare to find a person who has escaped this social scourge. And yet, we still express surprise when we hear about child abuse.
In the latest and unprecedented case of Hussain Fazeel, 38, police discovered his hard drive contained numerous pictures and videos of him having sex with different under-aged boys. The images were of such high quality that police speculated they could have been used for commercial purposes.
Headlines such as “38-year-old man has homosexual relations with boys” were splashed across local media. But such ambiguous headlines have undermined the stark reality of the abuse that took place by implying the relationship could have been consensual.
And what does use of the word “homosexual” in the title say about our priorities? That this aspect was far more troubling than child abuse?
The case has further highlighted society’s tendency to protect girls while boys are free to roam around; a chilling reminder that paedophiles always prey on easy targets: Fazeel’s victims were street kids who were free to run around as they pleased.
With this case in mind, Aishath Shazra takes a look at previous child abuse cases and the gaping holes in the legislation which have let perpetrators slip through the system.
Read the full report here