Paedophiles, sexual perverts defeat the ends of justice
Tens of children across the country are still suffering horrific sexual abuse, but their attackers are roaming free because of hurdles placed on the road to justice, according to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Catherine Rauwe.
Speaking recently at Avani Hotel during the closing of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children campaign Rauwe said the attacks are rarely reported in time, as they are “not considered an emergency.”
She said: “Some of the cases we handle are not fresh but are brought here after the parent notices their child has a smelly discharge or cannot sit properly.” She noted that offenders are beating the law. “Some make a survivor take a shower, to wash away evidence or burn the clothes, so the doctor cannot describe the state of the survivor and how they met, which affects the case as there is no evidence.” With many survivors not properly supported, the trauma is extreme so that they cannot describe the crime, which helps the perpetrators to evade justice.
"Already, the psychological toll of the violent sexual act has damaged the child. We should not be quiet about such violence,” she said, pleading with parents to stop concealing instances of incest. Rauwe said in some instances, people report then withdraw cases to “talk about it as a family or when we do follow ups, they simply don’t cooperate.” “We can not win the battle if people are not willing to help us,” she stated. The silence, she said, was mostly due to the shame and fear of stigma. “This means that many of the culprits are roaming free to commit these crimes again and again.”
According to the second Botswana Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance Survey released two weeks ago, 22.2 per cent of students aged between 13-19 reported to being forced to have sex for the first time. Stepping Stones International, Programmes Manager, Beauty Mogasha said: “Sadly, these children fear telling their parents about the attacks and thus delay in seeking medical attention. In turn, they get sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea and HIV while the girls, in addition to these infections, end up pregnant”.
It came out that the children aged between two and 12 are more likely to be attacked by their next-door neighbours, house helps, or in some cases, their own parents. In most of the cases, children who are prone to abuse are those who were left behind with a neighbour as their parents went to look for work but instead, these guardians sexually violated them.
In other cases, the children were playing outside unsupervised and they were lured with money and food, while in some cases, the teenagers are lured by DVDs and alcohol amongst others. Urging society to speak out when they see abuse of children instead of turning a blind eye, Mogasha said, “The pain and the scars we see on these children are deeper than we think”.