Arrests for child abuse reach nearly 200 this year alone

Close to two hundred arrests have been made by police this year alone on allegations of child abuse.

The latest such arrest was on Wednesday, when a father was charged with sexually abusing his own daughter.

A total of 198 arrests were made for child abuse cases from the beginning of the year to the end of September 2010.

Though the charges are all of crimes against children, the type of abuse varied greatly. Children had been kidnapped, falsely imprisoned, sexually abused, abandoned and assaulted. One had been killed.

The most common among all types of crimes against children is that of sexual abuse. 131 of the 198 arrests made by police this year for crimes against children were for sexual offences.

A Gender Ministry report on women’s health and well-being, an academically rigorous and groundbreaking countrywide survey of Maldivian women produced in 2007, revealed that over 12 percent of Maldivian women between the age of 15 and 49 are sexually abused as a child.

Almost ten percent of women’s first sexual experience is either forced or coerced, the report shows. The younger the woman is, according to the report, the more likely that her first sexual experience is forced on her or that she is coerced into it.

The crime of child abuse is most common in Male’. More than 16 percent of girls in Male’ under the age of fifteen are sexually abused, four percent higher than the national average.

The national average stands at 12 percent – of every 100 Maldivian girls under the age of fifteen, twelve are sexually abused.

For almost two-thirds of these girls, 60 percent, the experience is not a one off, but repetitive and prolonged. Most perpetrators of the crime, according to the report, are male family members of the children.

The second most common perpetrators are male acquaintances of the family, neighbours, teachers or religious leaders.

In August this year, renowned Qary Hussein Thaufeeq, a leader of Friday prayers and a teacher of Qur’an to children on national television, was arrested on multiple charges of child sex abuse. He has since been transferred to house arrest.

24 percent of girls under the age of 15 who were sexually abused were victims of strangers while for eight percent of the girls, the perpetrators were their fathers or stepfathers.

The Gender Ministry report also shows that a quarter of Maldivian women become sexually active between the ages of 15 and 17, before the legal adult age.

Six percent of female Maldivians are under the age of 15 when they have their first sexual experience. For many of them, the experience is forced or coerced.

From comparisons with similar research done by the WHO on 11 other countries, the Gender Ministry report also reveals that only two other countries – Namibia and Peru – have areas with higher rates of child sexual abuse than Male’.

The density of the island’s population, which forces girls into sharing sleeping space with a large number of people, especially older males, is one of the main factors the report identifies as contributing to the frequency of the crime in Male’, the report says.

Girls who are forced to travel to Male’ to study and have to board with relatives, friends and strangers are also identified in the report as being particularly vulnerable.

The fact that the most common type of child sex offender is a male family member may contribute to its high rates in Male’, the report says.

“Perhaps in Male’, where extended families live together, often in crowded conditions, young women and girls are more at risk from their male family members that they live with”, it says.

International research into the impact of child sexual abuse has shown that victims of child sex abuse are likely to become afflicted by a large number of behavioural and psychological problems including negative impact on reproductive health, relationship problems, sexual dysfunction, depression, thoughts of suicide, deliberate self-harm as well as substance abuse and sexual risk taking.

The penalty for child sex abuse, according to the Child Sex Abuse (Special Provisions) Act, is 10-14 years but can be extended to 15-18 years if the accused was in a position of trust with the children he allegedly abused. The new Act is not retroactive, and its sentencing does not apply to child abuse crimes committed before it was implemented.


13 thoughts on “Arrests for child abuse reach nearly 200 this year alone”

  1. Bala Kaloa!

    Keevvegen child abuse nukuranvee mi qaumuga???

    If u do such a crime, u get no punishment instead u become famous coz u did wat u want and nobody cud do anything...Kihaa gadha dhoa????

    Judges are doing their job without the required tools that other country's Judiciary posses. So, such CRIMINALS have chance to come out of the Courts laughing & waving my friends....

  2. What about underage girls forced into marriage? A Muslim can marry a 10 year old and above. No wonder Maldivian men crave underage girls. And on top it, Islam allows the husband to beat up the wife if she does not have sex with him. Read the scriptures. Its there. Within a week, you may witness the country's marriage of the Century in Maldives, to a girl barely 18 by a 45 year old millionaire MP, and the country's top officials will endorse it (together with the divorces of three other wives, two of whom were teenagers), by attending the ceremony.

  3. No comment on this upto now. Is it because this does not disturb anyone?

  4. This is the result of people not getting punishment due to them. Usually they get away with a year or two in jail. But for the child its for life. Our adults think very little on the impact on the child after abuse. People are more worried on becoming rich and famous by hook or crook. Poor maldivian children.

  5. Only the statistics is new. If one asks a room full of women if any one of them have faced some incidence of sexual child abuse, majority would say yes. Why do they not talk about it, because they probably think it happened to only them and is somehow made to feel guilty and ashamed, or in some cases probably too innocent to know what was being done was wrong until too late.

  6. It is important to note that the increase in the number of arrests may not mean that child abuse is increasing.

    Now, with the new found freedoms, people have got the confidence to report the abuse to the authorities.

    If the systems - the government, police, judiciary, etc., builds its strength in future, we might be shocked to find that child abuse is even more pervasive than we think today.

  7. I have done my own statistics on the subject of child abuse or women facing all sorts of abuse in Maldives, and I am glad you have shared such vital facts and figures that should, at least for once, raise more awareness among the people who should in turn demand justice through laws. Your article would have been a kill of two birds with one stone, had it touched on the prevailing 'general abuse' towards women and children, all over Maldives.
    Allow me to freshen readers with various issues, and finally for them to try put the blocks together to answer the most disturbing question ' why now, why not a decade ago?
    (A) Last night MBNC had a good program on 'corruption'. Its a shame that Maldives is now rated officially more corrupt than the famous tyrant, dictator Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe. The young chap plainly defined corruption as a disease not specifically in money matters, but also on other aspects e.g. material favors, deliberate decisions, organized theft, etc. We see it in banks when tellers do favors for selected customers, we see it in hospitals where doctor token numbers are issued by phone to special friends leaving poor islanders stranded for days in Male, and we see it in previous and present government where a few people, enjoy favors and special treatments and finally even in Majlis where laws that could make a change in the living status of common people, are purposely blanketed by those who actually run the business and financial structure of the country.
    (B) A few nights back, the president of football association was comfortable and mockery enough to point a finger to spectators irresponsible behaviors on the pitch in recent matches. Have a look at the recent Majlis session that a verbal war between the people who decide our future. How did this football president behave? In the exact manner the New Radiant players did against the referee on the red card issue.
    (C) Does the name Nasimso, Thaufeeg sound a bell?, I guess not, Maldivians are trained to forget and forgive. Two worst pedophiles. One a teacher who parents adored, and another, a religious man parents respected. Two very important people in Maldives...Ask yourself how would the girls who bled, and experienced horrific abuses in the name of education and god, FEEL when they grow up to see these DEVILS free, alive and encouraged further in Male'?

    (D) Religion and interpretation of religion has now become one of the causes and hurdle in the war against abuse against women and children. I don't blame the vulnerable girls or parents. I blame the religious law makers who have used it for selfish and personal gains. HOW? A few months back religious scholars from all over the world showered Maldives with the good words of god. Well, 80% of what they said was not Gods will but own interpretations. Poor islanders got confused and passed the same confusion to their daughters are sons. 1) Girls aged 8, upon getting their periods are permitted to Marry! 2) Women should not work, venture out but stay at home to tend to the husband and sons 3) Women should cover 99% and leave the eyes and fingers only. Strip and physically satisfy the husband whose sexual urges demand more than one wife. 4) Dancing is Haram, and many more...Look at Male since the scholars left!!! any girl at age 12 has a veil/buruga and children as young as 6 are forced to wakeup early morning to go for prayers and koran classes. These same people use religion to have young girls

    (E) Last but not least, todays dressing of our girls and women. Sorry to say but I put a bit of blame on teenage girls as well as their parents. If you take a stroll on any road in Male at night, you will end up home with a stiff neck. Believe it or not men cannot just miss to see what is displayed. Most women today can be confused to have dressed up deliberately to give a sexual attention. Most victims are those wearing burugas and doesn't matter fat, thin, fair or dark...if you are not seen wearing tight revealing stuff, you are outclassed. A man is a man whether religious or a criminal....and women dress up in such manners in a city which has more gays and lesbians, and horny males than new york (proportionately), what do you expect?

    Coming back to your article, through my research, evidence exists that, these issues have been part of life in Maldives and parents as well as family members know. Today, girls are sexually forced to service their fathers and brothers, cousins or and uncles while vulnerable young boys are destined to the old males and the young educators. The rich and the famous hand pick the prettiest little chicks (teenage girls), shower them with materials and money to get the kinky sex that is the fashion of town. They even buy of the parents or sleep with them too.
    On the other hand, the religious fanatics do not need to court a woman but look through available young girls in town for them to pick and play. How many girls below 19yrs, wearing all black clothes have little children or pregnant even before the first child is one year old??, How many educated women are indoors locked up in name of religion while husbands enjoy vodkas and screw prostitutes on their trips abroad?

    The story goes on and on and on but nothing changes, nothing will ever change and our kids will live a life of fear.Fear from God, fear from parents, fear from school, fear from gangs and fear from inner self. Suicide cases are gradually increasing, stress and psychological problems on the rise as life becomes difficult and the country falling a part.

    A Maldivian wrote on an article about vilu reef youtube story.."I am ashamed to be a Maldivian'. These are very strong words, the same way Nazim, who entered the Guiness book of records to be the first Asian to denounce the religion. I ask every parent to take a minute and ask themselves whether they ever blame themselves towards what is happening to the life of their children today and the outcome of the teenagers today. We parents made a blunder, the government never educated us that time and now we are unable to handle our 21st IT born children.

    We all are to blame. The secrecy life we lead has brought us to where we are. Thank god we have media and people willing to speak out and expose the dark side of more Sunny Side.

  8. So even the gaaree, because he's famous and influential, was given "house arrest". Well done Maldives! Let the child abusers and pedophiles walk free on the streets!

    This country is what you would generally call...a lawless country. Laws exist....for no apparent reason really.

  9. This is extremely disturbing. People who commit crimes should be sentenced accordingly. in order to reduce these acts.

  10. whats the point of all these statistics , i would say its supported here for this type of acts. no one is punished . there is a big AFFAAM , which is more important than kudakudhinge haqqu.

  11. Maldives is a paradise for pedophiles. Sex with underage and sexual abuse to women has been a norm that has its roots deep into our culture. Today it has taken a new shape under the curtains of "religion". Mostly females are being abused and they are the main victims of this hideous act. Yet parents and guardians and individuals neglect this problem in our society and the abusers have been protected by our own society (mostly women and judiciary(majority of men)). However at least today we have laws and with more awareness it is one the surface. But religion is used as a shield now, to continue this act and justify it and which is acknowledge by men and women so it goes back to the culture and society again. One thing to be done is that Islamic ministry must be involved in this and clear guidelines that do not contradict with laws and religion must be made so that people understand to draw the boundaries.

  12. @ Real
    You forgot to mention that those going on Jihad to Pakistan and Afghanistan are recruited directly from the Quruan Class, Ignorant parents believe the extremists who feed on their mind for years and young kids sent off to study religion are sent to these places for Jihad, ending up as some perverts' little boy. The previous Government continued to ignore it and the present government...are they going to say they have no idea. Well time to find the TRUTH

  13. Islam teaches that women should be protected at home and should not venture out or even live alone (even among other women)without the presence of a 'mahram'....but what solution does it provide when the women are abused by these very men?? where the religion is keen to condemn almost every crime under the sun, it does not hint at the most vile n damaging crimes such as rape/marital rape or child molestation...

    the taleban justify confining women to their homes by saying it is to 'protect' them from rapists and such...should it then not be the men whose desires are 'uncontrollable' by nature who should be confined to their homes?? women are not safe in their homes as it can be clearly seen..


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