Minivan News on Sunday: a 13 year old girl is being abused by her own father.
Another child abuse story. Another day. Did I notice anyone raise an eyebrow?
The children of this country are being sexually assaulted and abused by people they know and trust. This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the regular appearance of news articles and stories about the abuse of children in our communities.
This happens all the time. It is becoming quite ‘normal’ now. In fact, there is evidence to support this.
The Maldives Study on Women’s Health and Life Experiences published in 2007 by the then Ministry of Gender and Family found that “girl child sexual abuse was most often a repeated form of abuse rather than a once off occurrence”.
The study also found that “male family members (other than fathers and step-fathers) and… male acquaintances were identified as the most common perpetrators of girl child sexual abuse”.
Most damningly, the study found that “overall, one in three women aged 15-49 reported experiencing physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, including childhood sexual abuse”.
Another story, a different day.
Hundreds of liquor licenses allow the expatriate community to indulge themselves in the supposed pleasures of alcohol. A steadily increasing community of foreign workers have been indulging in such pleasures in our homes and communities for decades, quite legally.
The People’s Majlis passes a bill which attempts to control the distribution and consumption of alcohol. It would also stop the consumption of alcohol in our homes, which are rented by expatriates who have these liquor licenses.
Uproar ensues following the passage of the bill. Our airwaves are filled with news of protests and the constant reportage makes the whole issue akin to a national emergency. The horror of such a move by the government!
A group of allegedly devout men and women threaten to destabilise the country by toppling the government if the bill were to come into force. Communities are outraged and will not allow this to happen because alcohol is ‘haraam’.
Meanwhile, the lives of unknown numbers of vulnerable children continue being quietly destroyed behind closed doors, often by the very people who are responsible for their welfare and protection.
The community does not protest. It seems to be a non-issue for them. They do not condemn such behaviour or threaten to overthrow the government in fits of outrage. In fact, the community is silent.
The brutal treatment of children is clearly not a concern in this society. But the sale of alcohol to non-muslims sends our communities and media into uncontrollable convulsions.
What does this say about our society? What does this say about our priorities?
When the controlled sale of alcohol to non-muslims becomes a bigger issue than the destruction of our childrens’ futures due to sexual abuse and violence, is it not time to reflect on the madness and incoherence of the value system of this society?
Let us not look around for someone to blame. Let us consider and reflect upon our own failure to address this silent national emergency.
All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]