Police statistics raise questions over scale of Maldives sexual abuse

A man in his sixties was arrested in Fares-Maathoda last week on suspicion of sending inappropriate text messages to a 12 year old girl as police figures indicate that the number of sexual abuse cases being reported is on course to exceed last year’s total.

“The man had given a phone to the [12 year old] girl, and was sending inappropriate text messages to her, he was also trying to lure her places to meet up” said police spokesperson Ahmed Shiyam in regards to the Fares-Maathoda allegations.

Shiyam said that it was uncertain as yet if an actual meeting had taken place between the suspect and his alleged victim. “We are currently investigating that,” he added.

Police today also confirmed that on June 30 2011, a 33 year old man in Addu Atoll was arrested over the alleged abuse of a 17 year old girl. Shiyam declined to give any more information on this case saying investigations were continuing.

Increase in reported cases

Alongside providing details of these allegations, official police figures given to Minivan News have indicated that a total of 163 sexual abuse cases were reported last year. The same statistics also revealed that 108 sexual abuse cases had been reported up to the end of May 2011. According to these figures, 30 of these cases allegedly involved victims aged between 2 to 12 years.

The number of abuse cases being reported has caused concern among groups such as NGOs. Back in April, the Advocating Rights of Children (ARC) group issued a press release expressing concern at the rising number of child abuse cases in the country, calling on the relevant authorities to strengthen laws to protect children.

However, public and political opinion appears divided on whether there is an increase in the incidence of abuse cases or the number of allegations being reported.

“I believe abuse cases happen a lot in the Maldives, it is just that in the past it was not reported,” said Mariyam Leesha, a 35 year old mother of two, who has reported being a victim of abuse herself.

Leesha said that she believed society was now more open in talking about abuse meaning more people are reporting allegations to the police.

“When a victim is not believed, they will not talk about it anymore,” she said.

Leesha has said that she was abused by her uncle as a child, allegations that her family refused to believe at the time.

According to Leesha, the culture of shame and fear that previously hindered people from reporting sexual and child abuse has been broken to an extent, although more work was needed as a society.

“Even recently when a Maldivian film on child abuse was shown, there were people who said that it should not have been enacted,” she said. Leesha says that issues like sexual abuse need to be discussed more to encourage people to report abuse.

The Gender Ministry declined to comment when asked by Minivan News on the possible causes of the increased rate of sexual abuse cases being reported, saying there was an absence of study or research to make any conclusions.

The names of any victims mentioned in this article have been changed to protect their identity.


18 thoughts on “Police statistics raise questions over scale of Maldives sexual abuse”

  1. We know for a fact that sexual abuse has been rampant in Thai country. That is why we had pushed the bill on protecting child rights so hard. We know that a third of women in this country are abused. We know that there is a culture of neglect, harassment and fear.

    We need to address this directly. We need to prosecute ANYONE who has sex with a girl or boy under the age of 18. I don't care if she's two months younger than 18 or 10 years... We need to create a culture of repect for children. Men need to stop seeing high schoolers as potential lovers. And visa versa. It's just nasty.

    The number of 17 year olds who are engaging in sexual conduct with older suga daddies is growing exponentially. And it is unacceptable.

    The Gender Department of the Health Ministry together with the Police are responsible. We should hold them as such now.

  2. Could somebody please explain to me, what is it in the culture which makes it hard for ppl to come out and say they are, had been abused. What are the real underlying reasons for this? The deep causes of this aspect of Maldivian society, somebody needs to shine a light on this, seriously.

  3. Whoever abuses under age girl or boy he/she should be injected with a vaccine which will kill all their sexual desires for the rest of life.

    Maldivian government needs to block all porn sites access too.Anyone can access to those kind of sites by net.

    In recent We are facing huge problem in regards to sexual desires of our men and women.Sex with animals and sex with under age chilren.what a shame for the our nation and our belief.

    Our religious scholars need to have public lectures about these kind of hell bent matters in our society.people should be reminded and educated about this matter.
    Parents should be informed and reminded about the responsibilities on their shoulder to look after their children.

    I pray to Allah to protect our children from all hell bent shaitans and have peace in our nation.Allah may bless us all.

  4. The silence by which child abuse has been dealt with is the main reason why pedos have gotten away with their crimes.

    Families even when cases came out hid the abuse due to social stigma. And instead of changing how child abuse was viewed and making people aware, we chose to stay silent. Ignoring or staying silent is the reason why the issue has reached such a level.

    We have much to do, to change how child abusers and victims are dealt with. Still do not see good enough actions being taken. Just hear NGO's also doing lip service, just as the government.

  5. So called religious scholars are the people who believe that it is their given right to get married to nine to eleven years kids. That is the mullah philosophy.

  6. @Hassan.. Some questions for you...
    What is the marriageable age you would consider for a woman? like 18-99> or 14-99>? How do you get this figure? Is this not an individual preference? I mean who gave you the right to determine marriageable age of another woman or girl? The womenfolk gave this right to you to advocate on their behalf?

    Ok now think like this. Humans are biological beings. We have biological inbuilt circuitry which trigger events and symptoms related to phases of our life. So when a girl or a boy becomes of marriageable and 'sexable' age these triggers fire and visible signs manifest over the body.

    If your mention of mullah philosophy has something to do with Islam allowing humans to marry after this biological marker, then be with your misery. Islam will not change for your artificial desires. Islam is a rational practicable religion. Sex is not an abominable thing in Islam unlike Christianity. In Christianity you better be celibate to please god. But in Islam you can be human, you can marry and enjoy the pleasures of sex. And that pleasure and enjoyment need not be checked till an artificial time-frame dictated by some unknown force (shaithaan?)comes to pass!

    This whole hogwash about underage marriage and sex and mullah philosophy and blah-blah started when shaithaan cannot find enough defects in islamic message. So they started attacking the messenger personally rather than the religion islam itself. Their prime attack is the marriage of Aisha(ra) to our beloved prophet Muhammad (sa). But we muslims are all agreed that the prophet consummated his marriage with Aisha(ra) when she was biologically mature. So where is the beef in this?

    One last direct question to you o brother Hassan.

    If they (shaithaan infested parliamentarians for e.g) passed a bill tomorrow saying that marriageable age for women will be 45 starting from tomorrow, will you wait like a good law-abiding citizen from having marrying your sweetheart till she becomes 45? :)...

  7. Rasheed:

    Hahahahaha did you really just call marrying a 14 year old "individual preference"?

    So if the standard here was 14, you would probably think marrying a 9 year old was fine too huh?

    What on earth is a "biological marker"? What pseudoscience are you using to determine maturity?

    Did you really just say "sexable" age? So you go around looking at young girls to see if they're "sexable"?

    You sir, are a pedophile.

  8. Dear Honey;
    Let me highlight an important problem. You are not being objective but defensive. Furthermore, instead of thinking about the issue you have started labelling. Now I have become a paedophile for what? For stating a manifest truth in Islam? Ok, if I am a paedophile for agreeing that 'baalighvun' as in Islamic sharia is a legal marriageable age for Muslim women, then I could not be alone. There are more than 1 billion Muslims who agree with Islamic sharia who would also fall in the category you defined as paedophiles. Is this your conclusion?

    The phrase 'individual preference' is not correct.. what I meant to say was different people grow up at different rates! Forgive my mistaken use of the phrase.

    As for determining maturity, all I am saying is that Islam sharia has means to determine maturity and that is good enough for me. What is good for my beloved prophet (sa) is good enough for me.

  9. Rasheed:

    Definition for paedophile:
    pedophile: an adult who is sexually attracted to children

    children: plural of child (Noun)
    1. A young human being below the age of full physical development or below the legal age of majority.
    2. A son or daughter of any age.

    Since the legal age of majority in the Maldives is 18, yeah, you are most certainly a pedophile.

    How do you define maturity then? Do you go to little girls at yearly intervals to check?

    If you're saying it's perfectly fine to marry and have relations with someone who is underage as long as they are "mature", you're taking the law onto your own hands aren't you? Why would you even want to marry someone underage in the first place? You dirty pedo you.

  10. Rasheed,

    "So when a girl or a boy becomes of marriageable and ‘sexable’ age these triggers fire.."

    I believe the word your looking for is 'puberty' 😉

  11. Rasheed please understand that we are not talking about theory mistaken as science.
    We are talking of norms of modern society. That is all and we not against any religion!

  12. @ hani..
    I was writing on the assumption that you would be able to comprehend what I wrote without me spelling every term out. But since this does not seem to be the case let me clarify some definitions:

    1)your definition of paedophile=anyone who is a muslim or who believes the concept of being 'baaligh'. But that's your problem, not mine.

    2) 'legal age of majority' : Islam is not about majority ruling. In Islam we have rules which are to be adhered weather it favours majority or minority. Majority ruling is about democracy or mobocracy whatever you call it. Legal age in Islam for marriage is when a he or she becomes of age: that is after puberty. Does not matter weather that happens after 40years!

    3) your labelling me as a pedo is not accurate. I am not of that sort. The problem with irrational people who cannot defend their views is this: that they start attacking the person rather than the issue.

    But I stand on an important principle. That is you cannot violate a point of Islamic sharia saying society's norms and bla bla. This society like every other society is populated by the slaves of Allah. So we obey what is in Quruan and follow the ways of the prophet. I would rather be scorned for defending Islamic values rather than be praised for advocating society's norms. If this society goes against Islam I will firmly be against it.

  13. Rasheed:

    So you're saying if a 40 year old man had relations with and wanted to marry a 14 year old girl, it's completely fine and acceptable as long as she's reached puberty?

    How do you define puberty then?

    So before you can file a child abuse charge, you'd have to first check whether or not the child had reached puberty?

    So you're effectively saying all Muslims are pedophiles and pedophilia is not even an issue/doesn't exist?

    I'm not calling you a pedophile to attack your character.

    I'm calling you a pedophile because you keep admitting you are one.

  14. Puberty is a strange and confusing time for any person. To expect that person to be ready for the commitment of marriage immediately is ridiculous.

    Who decides a person has reached puberty anyways?

    The person or their parents or who?

    Does the person suddenly proclaim to the world that they've hit puberty and anythings game?

    And no doubt this person is probably a girl.

    Very few 14 year old boys getting married but tons of perverted old men lining up to marry the barely teenage girls.

    A Maldives with your twisted version of "Islam" would be a horrible place for a girl to grow up in.

  15. @Hani
    1) Its is perfectly fine for ppl to marry (THOSE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE BY AGE [UNDER ISLAMIC SHARIA])even if their age differs. So a 40year old woman may definitely marry a 14 year old boy if he is 'baaligh'. Where is the law saying that you are only supposed to wed ppl who has no age differences? Also marriage is valid by consent. So if the 40 year old girl doesn't consent to wed to the 14 year man how can they marry?
    2) I didn't say Muslims are paedophiles, but its the modern kuffar's line to make Muslims be ashamed of their religion by raising this hoopla about under-age marriage and they are trying to dictate the marriageable age. All I am saying is who are you or who are the kuffar to say who marries whom and on which age? The marriageable age is determined by biology and Islam allows it then. Don't say say bla bla about pseudo science because 5 year old girls do not get periods.
    3)Never have I admitted being a paedophile in this dialogue but for lack of better replies to give, you keep maintaining that. You cannot defend your assertion which is why you attack me personally. But I would understand. No hurt feelings.

    4) puberty is definitely a strange confusing time but so is maturity. Is it not? I am not aware of your age but I would like to ask you weather all is clear and 'unconfusing' in your life at the moment? 🙂 This notion of stages of life for ppl like , babe, kid, toddler, adolescent, pubescent etc these are all modern classifications based on our 'norms-of-society'. These are not iron clad hard wired rules of science. If you read Islamic history you would have found 14 year olds led battles in armed combat against kufffar in defence of Islam! At that time society demanded young people be brave and responsible, so they were. Our current bourgeois lifestyles and thinking adds a few more years of irresponsibility to youth's age saying "you are a kid ...you are confused ...your searching for identity... " etc etc. So it is we, our society and norms which makes the youngsters irresponsible and immature. If we, meaning the society demands them be tough and responsible and courageous, then they will be. History has ample proof of this. We are doing similar mistakes in the area of rehabilitation of drug addicts. We are giving them similar un-confidence about themselves which is the biggest reason why they cannot overcome their supposed addiction.

    5)Different societies have different ways to celebrate the coming of age of their youth. Its a personal big day for the day when someone is 'officially' declared mature. I remember the last time such an 'official' coming of age was celebrated in my island. I know the family and remember the fiest, the happy atmosphere at the house. However nowadays nobody seems to know these kinds of festivals and occasions were the norm only a few years back.. The point of my raving is that nobody goes checking who is of marriageable age and their is nothing to look at. The boy or girl who grew up would know they are grown up once they reach that stage. So will their families. Only now that we do not officially celebrate the coming-of -age ceremony any-more here in our country. read about "coming of age" in wikipedia: here is the link:

  16. Rasheed, Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source to reference your "coming of age" 😉


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