Posts Tagged ‘rape’

 I am immensely drawn to the continent of Africa.  Our world has ignored the tragedies that have been occurring there year after year.  It tears at my heart, because the people do not deserve this way of life.  They are people like you and me.  They have a sense of community, and of family. They cry and they laugh.  They have dreams.  More importantly, they feel.  The stories that have been coming out of Africa are horrifying.  And I ask, what are we doing about it?  Also, when we finally do something to help, why is it long after the atrocities have occurred?  I think we need to take a preventive stance.  Read some of the headlines and excerpts of stories about violent activities that are occurring in Africa:

Mass graves discovered in Ivory Coast as Laurent Gbagbo conceals human rights atrocities; News Time Africa, Ahmed M Kamara, January 1, 2011.   … enforced or involuntary disappearances, arbitrary detentions and extra-judicial or arbitrary executions and sexual violence occurring and may still be occurring in Ivory Coast, this is according to UN human rights experts who have fear of gross human rights violations being committed in Ivory Coast by the Gbabgo regime that could amount to crimes against humanity.

Ivory Coast Unrest:  Gbagbo under pressure as UN hears of mass atrocities; Times of Malta.com; Dave Clark, AFP, 24th December 2010.  The United Nations demanded a halt Thursday to the “atrocities” triggered by Ivory Coast’s political crisis that have left 173 dead, and accused Laurent Gbagbo’s troops of harassing its peacekeepers.

Genocide: Military needs response plan to genocide; CNN Opinion, By Chris Taylor and Anthony Zinni, January 04, 2011.  A number of countries in Africa and Asia are at significant risk for a new outbreak of mass killing.

Amnesty calls on Sudan to tackle human rights abuses ahead of referendum, Sudan Tribune, January 8, 2011.  According to Amnesty, more than 20,000 people were displaced in December last year by a spate of largely unreported attacks by government forces in several areas in Darfur region

Gunmen carry out New Year gang-rape in Congo, AlertNet, George Fominyen, January 7, 2011.  Armed men raped 33 women on New Year’s Day in a coordinated attack in eastern Congo

Central Africa: Abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army, allAfrica.com, December 13, 2010.   … a new report on the growing threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army, central Africa’s most brutal and longest running rebel movement. Countless youth and children have been killed or abducted.

30 killed in Nigerian bomb blast: State-TV, Insidethestar.com, December 31, 2010.  A bomb blast tore through a beer garden at a Nigerian army barracks where revellers had gathered to celebrate New Year’s Eve, witnesses said, and state-run television reported Friday that 30 people died,

Egypt: Abuse of Asylum-Seekers in Sinai Must Stop, Say Activists, allAfrica.com, January 6, 2011.  Rights groups say around 200 of these asylum-seekers – mostly from Eritrea – are held in the Sinai desert and face torture and rape, with their captors demanding money before they are allowed into Israel.

Nigeria: Use Restraint in Curbing Jos Violence, Human Rights Watch, January 19, 2010.  In Plateau State, an unprecedented outbreak of violence in Jos claimed as many as 1,000 lives in September 2001; more than 700 people died in May 2004 in inter-communal clashes in the town of Yelwa in the southern part of the state; and at least 700 people were killed in the violence in Jos on November 28 and 29, 2008.

War in Darfur,  Wikipedia.  In Darfur, over 5 million people have been affected by the genocide.

How people were affected after the Rwandan genocide, Helium,  Barbara Guess.  The Rwandan genocide left 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead and a figure of two million refugees that had fled to the neighbouring countries for safety… How do the people of a country recover after a genocide takes place in which 800,000 people are butchered?

The Use of Children as Soldiers in Africa.  the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers believes that more than 120,000 children under 18 years of age are currently participating in armed conflicts across Africa. Some of these children are no more than 7 or 8 years of age. The countries most affected by this problem are: Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda.

Machete-wielding rioters kill 200 in Nigeria: Suspicion falls on Muslim group after three Christian villages attacked.  The killers showed no mercy: They didn’t spare women and children, or even a 4-day-old baby, from their machetes.  On Monday, women wailed in the streets as a dump truck carried dozens of bodies past burned-out homes toward a mass grave… Those that resist abduction face mutilation where their noses and lips are amputated to mark them . . . Children in war-torn areas sustain bullet, machete and shrapnel wounds.

South Africa’s shame: the rise of child rape, The Independent, Rachel Shields,  Sunday, 16 May 2010.  Cases of child rape are on the increase, courtesy of the myth that having sex with a virgin cures AIDS…  in South Africa it is also commonplace. The country has the world’s highest incidence of rape; a girl born there today has a one in three chance of finishing school, and a one in two chance of being raped.

 Tribal Violence in Africa: A History, One Africa Now.com.  We have all read the newspaper reports depicting violence between one African tribe and another. Images of gun-toting young children flood out television screens, supplying evidence of a reality in a number of African countries where thousands upon thousands die, and even more are forced to flee their homes. At some point one has to ask oneself just how long this has been going on and, perhaps more apt, why is it still continuing today?

I don’t understand how it is possible for thousands of people to be murdered and the rest of the world stands by just watching.  Is the reason we do not immediately assist because there is some value to leaving these countries in an unrest state.  Or is it we just don’t recognize any value there that we can exploit for our own benefit?   

It always amazes me how the media reports on the countries in Africa.  Typically they reference the continent of Africa rather than the specific countries.  It almost an act of subjugation, or implying that the specific countries have not individual importance.  If we give each country a specific identity perhaps more attention would be given to that country versus just references to the nebulous continent as Africa. 

Africa is not one governmental body.  Africa is not one type of people.  Africa isn’t even one type of terrain.  Each country has its distinct features.  Why do we lessen it importance by diluting the richness of each of the individual countries?  I have always suspected that the way we treat Africa has some strategic implication.  If the world believes it is insignificant and has no value, then they will not pursue commerce, industry, or basic day-to-day interactions.  It is as if the bounties of the African nations are purposely being hidden for the purpose of being tapped into at a future date. 

It is not right how we are treating the people of Africa.  They deserve the same rights as you and I.  They deserve the right to be recognized by humanity.  Think about it.  More importantly lift your voice and be a part of the change.  Respect each country in Africa, and praise the bounty it brings into this world.

These are the countries of Africa.  Know them.  Remember them.  Don’t turn your back on them.  Allow them to have their pride.  Give them the respect they are due.

Republic of Algeria)  Malawi (Republic of Malawi)
Angola (Republic of Angola)  Mali (Republic of Mali)
Benin (Republic of Benin)  Mauritania (Islamic Republic of Mauritania) 
Botswana (Republic of Botswana) Mauritius (Republic of Mauritius)
Burkina Faso  Morocco (Kingdom of Morocco) 
Burundi (Republic of Burundi) Mozambique (Republic of Mozambique)
Cameroon (Republic of Cameroon)  Namibia (Republic of Namibia)
Cape Verde (Republic of Cape Verde)  Niger (Republic of Niger)
Central African Republic (Central African Republic) Nigeria (Federal Republic of Nigeria)
Chad (Republic of Chad) Republic of the Congo (Republic of the Congo)
Comoros (Union of the Comoros)  Rwanda (Republic of Rwanda) 
Côte d’Ivoire (Republic of Côte d’Ivoire) Sao Tome and Principe 
Djibouti (Republic of Djibouti) Senegal (Republic of Senegal) 
Egypt (Arab Republic of Egypt) Seychelles (Republic of Seychelles)
Equatorial Guinea (Republic of Equatorial Guinea) Sierra Leone (Republic of Sierra Leone)
Eritrea (State of Eritrea) Somalia (Somali Republic)
Ethiopia (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia) South Africa (Republic of South Africa)
Gabon (Gabonese Republic) Sudan (Republic of Sudan) 
Gambia (Republic of The Gambia)  Swaziland (Kingdom of Swaziland)
Ghana (Republic of Ghana) Tanzania (United Republic of Tanzania) 
Guinea (Republic of Guinea)  Togo (Togolese Republic)
Guinea-Bissau (Republic of Guinea-Bissau) Tunisia (Tunisian Republic)
Kenya (Republic of Kenya)  Uganda (Republic of Uganda)
Lesotho (Kingdom of Lesotho) Western Sahara (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic) 
Liberia (Republic of Liberia)  Zambia (Republic of Zambia)
Libya (Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) Zimbabwe (Republic of Zimbabwe)
Madagascar (Republic of Madagascar)  

There are people in this world who have done horrible things to children.  Our legal systems and governments have failed the children.  What is eighteen months in prison, two years in prison, five years, or ten years.  How does any length of time of incarceration make up for a child’s life that has been ruined.  The innocence has been stripped.  Children have a mind that is not seasoned enough to understand the cruelty of these people. Nor should they have to understand them.  The children’s lives are affected forever.  Sure the physical evidence may leave, but the psychological impact never goes away.  The statistics for sexual offenders of children in the United States are staggering.

Sex Offender and Child Molester Statistics

According to the U. S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, on any given day there are approximately 234,000 sex offenders who were convicted of rape or sexual assault and are in the custody or control of correction agencies. Consider the following statistics:

–  The median age of the victims of convicted sex offenders was less than 13 years old.

–  In one year alone, approximately 4,300 child molesters in 15 states were released from imprisonment.

– The average child molester will molest 50 girls before being caught and convicted.

– A child molester that seeks out boys will molest 150 boys before being caught and convicted and he will commit at least 280 sexual crimes in his lifetime.

– The standard pedophile will commit 117 sexual crimes in their lifetime.

–  There are over 491,720 registered sex offenders in the United States.

– 80,000 to 100,000 of the registered offenders are missing.

– Molesters known by the family or victim are the most common abusers and accounts for 70-90% of reported cases.

– 2/3 of all prisoners convicted of rape or sexual assault had committed their crime against a child.

– On average the 9,691 sex offenders served 3 1/2 years of their 8-year sentence.

– Compared to non-sex offenders released from State prisons, released sex offenders were 4 times more likely to be rearrested for a sex crime.

– The 9,691 released sex offenders included 4,295 men who were in prison for child molesting.

The Innocent Victims

The statistics say that one out of every three to four girls has been sexually assaulted by the age of 18. One boy out of every six will be abused by the age of 18.  One of the sad things about these statistics is they are not accurate because many cases of child molestation are not reported.   The FBI reports that the National Institute for Mental Health found that only 1% to 10% of victims tell that they were abused, and boys report less than girls. 

– Most sexual abuse happens between the ages of 7 and 13. 

– A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.

– Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.

– It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.

– According to the National Victim Center, 29 percent of rape victims are younger than 11, and 32 percent are between 11 and 18 years of age (National Victim Center, 1992).

– 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members.

– Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.

– According to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, the average victim of abduction and murder is an 11-year-old girl who is described as a low-risk, “normal” child from a middle-class neighborhood who has a stable family relationship and whose initial contact with abductors occurs within a quarter of a mile of her home (Hanfland, Keppel, and Weis, 1997).

Impact

Children who have been molested have to deal with many psychological issues.  Depression, anger, confusion, and distrust are a few of the things these children go through.  The event is devastating to the child.

The child may also deal with anger.  The anger may be toward the predator, but there can also be anger at their family or caregivers.  The anger toward their caregivers arise  because the caregivers were supposed to protect the child and failed to do so.  The child becomes withdrawn within themselves. They find it hard to trust anyone.  This may result in control issues.  Many victims develop eating disorders because eating is something they have control over.  In addition, there may be academic issues which result in dropping grades.  In some cases there is no longer a desire to succeed.

Put yourself in the shoes of a child who has been sexually molested.  How would the world look to you?  Cruel.  Dangerous.  Fearful.  Sad.  Merciless.  Lonely.  How would other people look like to you?  Dangerous. Untrustworthy.  Which person is the next person that may do this to you again?  Another stranger.  A teacher.  A family member.  A clergy man.   Who can you trust? 

How can a victim become a productive individual in society, continue with life, possibly marry, and possibly have children?  What would you perspective be toward sex?  If you have a child what will your concerns be?  This one loathsome event, would completely overshadow the victim’s life.  How could there ever be a “normal” life?  Their perspective of life and of other people is warped.  The self-esteem is broken, almost beyond repair. A child who suffers from self-esteem issues needs to know they are loved and wanted. A child who has suffered from abuse doesn’t feel loved.  Here are some statistics about the impact:

– 31% percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children.

– Over 60% of people in drug rehabilitation centers report being abused or neglected as a child.

– About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.

– About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

– The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 is $104 billion.

– Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.

– Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely to abuse alcohol 

– Children who have been sexually abused are 3.8 times more likely to develop drug addictions

– Nearly two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused as children

How do you know if this has happened to your child?

Not every child reports that they have been a victim of molestation.  According to Kayla McClure, who was a victim of child abuse, the main aspect to look for is whether child’s behavior has dramatically changed. 

Parents your child needs to know they can come to you for anything. Children need to feel that they are loved and wanted. Predators strips away the feeling of worth and love. You as a parent need to encourage your child every day, compliment them, and show them you love and care for them. Children can heal from these heinous wounds. It won’t happen overnight but in time it can happen.

Punishment

According to the Bureau of Jury Statistics, the average sentence for a rapist is 11 years, with the perpetrator being released after serving five and a half years. The average sentence for sex offenders is eight years of prison, with the perpetrator being released after about three and a half years. (Child molesters are included in these statistics.)  In addition, those who molest family members get lighter sentences than outsiders.  Also, female teacher sex offenders in most cases face significantly lighter sex crime penalties than their male counterparts

 State Penalties

A study conducted in New York concluded that the average person convicted of child molestation serves four months in jail and five years on probation. The average sentence for child molestation in Georgia is six years. In Rhode Island, one study conducted by Ross Cheit, a professor of public policy, concluded that between 1985 and 1993, 70 percent of individuals found guilty of child molestation served no prison time at all. These studies demonstrate that the penalties for child molestation vary greatly from state to state.

Controversy

In 2008, the United States Supreme Court held in Kennedy v. Louisiana that imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and was thus unconstitutional. One of the effects of the decision was to preempt the laws of six states which had made child molestation a capital offense. The controversial decision was met with criticism from individuals who disagreed with the court’s opinion that there is no national consensus favoring the death penalty for the rape of a child. These individuals cite the six states that had enacted such legislation as well as the Uniform Military Code in making their argument. President Barak Obama also spoke out against the decision, arguing that the Court went too far in restricting the powers of the States.

Now I am not condoning execution of these individuals.  But I think their lives need to be affected for the rest of their lives, just as the offense affected the child.  There definitely needs to be no more early releases from prison or probation.  They need to be permanently affected.  Life in prison?  For males, castration?  I don’t know what the answer is , but I do know that currently our legal system is not handling these offenses correctly.

Conclusion

This situation for children is very serious.  What if it was your child, or your grandchild?  What if it was the girl who stops by to sell cookies?  What if it was the little boy who just entered a public bathroom.  These children are citizens of this country and need to be protected.  These children are our future.  What kind of future can that be?  They can not stand up for themselves.  You need to be their voice.  They can’t contact their congressman.  They can not vote.  You are their only hope.  Please protect them.

The statistics quoted here mainly cover the United States, but this problem is worldwide.  Conditions for children in some other countries is drastically worse

So long as little children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world. — Isadora Duncan

 

Data sources

Federal & State Reporting Systems
Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Overview of the Federal and State reporting systems that provide data to monitor and improve child welfare outcomes: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems (NCANDS), and Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS).

National Data Analysis System (NDAS)external link
Child Welfare League of America
Searchable online database that provides access to State data on child abuse and neglect, child abuse and neglect fatalities, adoption, childcare services, children’s health, juvenile justice, out-of-home care, and population.

National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglectexternal link
Facilitates secondary analysis of research data relevant to the study of child abuse and neglect by making data available to researchers.

Using AFCARS, NCANDS, and Census Data to Obtain Demographic Data for Your State/City/Countyexternal link (PDF – 118 KB)
National Data Analysis System (2005)

The After Effects of Child Molestation
Kayla McClure, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 18, 2007

Penalties for Child Molesters | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5418604_penalties-child-molesters.html#ixzz19iVTXuIF

Penalties for Child Molesters | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5418604_penalties-child-molesters.html#ixzz19iW74kQX

Long – Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway.Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2007 from http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/long_term_consequences.cfm

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and The Federal Administration for Children and Families. The CDC Publication: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr