Police have arrested five men on the island of Innamaadhoo in Raa Atoll for allegedly raping a 16 year-old girl.
Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that five men were arrested but declined to provide further information as the investigation was ongoing.
Minivan News contacted the island office and spoke to an Innamaadhoo councillor, who insisted that the five men “would have had sex with her consent.”
“I cannot believe that one would have to rape her, because she is a very wanton girl,” the councillor told Minivan News. “I think her brother somehow found out about it and reported it to police.”
The councillor further added that the 16 year-old girl was not from Innamaadhoo and was a “very bad girl.”
“It’s all allegations, according to Maldivian law the police arrest anyone that the girl points her finger at without even having any evidence that the accused has been really involved in it and will keep them a several days in custody to determine the truth of the allegations,” he complained.
“In the statement given to police, the girl said she did not know who the men were apart from her boyfriend,” the councillor said.
“If she was raped by five men then there will be some external injuries that would be easy to identify, but I have seen the girl after that and she was in good condition and there was nothing unusual about her.”
An islander meanwhile told Minivan News that “some people” had followed the girl and her boyfriend as they saw the couple acting unusual.
“They saw them enter an abandoned house and saw everything that happened,” he said, going on to blame the island council’s deputy chair for attempting to “hide the truth of the story”.
”The council has been very irresponsible and doing no good for the people,” he said. ”Even in this incident the council has tried to hide the truth from the media.”
Minivan News contacted the head of the gender department, Lubna Mohamed, regarding the prevalence of sexual abuse and prevailing societal attitudes in the Maldives, but she did not respond at time of press.
A 2006 study by the then Ministry of Gender and Family found that one in three Maldivian women aged 15-49 have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, while one in five women in the same age group reported experiencing this from an intimate partner.
Moreover, one in six women in the capital Male’ and one in eight countrywide reported experiencing childhood sexual abuse under the age of 15 years.