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Rape, incest, sexual assault – intolerable abomination

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Tue, Aug 30, 2010

We make no apologies for once more raising this subject, even though we have written on it several times in the past few months.{{more}} The situation has simply gotten out of hand and has reached intolerable proportions. Just look at our story, last Friday, about the number of incidents of rape, incest and sexual assault brought before the courts. Those are only the cases reported. How many more have gone unreported, or “settled”, either out of fear or because of offers of money?

Sickeningly, almost all of these acts of sexual assault were committed against girls below the age of 15; in a couple cases, the victims were under the age of 13 years. Worryingly, nearly all those charged, save for a 17-year old youth, are grown men, including a police officer. Worst of all, there are fathers and grandfathers among those charged with these despicable acts. In one case, both a father and his son are charged with incest.

Amazingly, the reaction in the society, especially from our women and women’s organisations, is rather muted, considering the gravity of the situation. Are we not motivated to take a strong stance, because these acts are being committed against girls from humble beginnings? Are they not people too? Or is it that we are only moved to action when the accused is a powerful member of our society?

If we seem to belabour the situation, it is because it is a frightening one which should scare the daylights out of all of us and shock us into militant response. Such nauseating acts amount to gross violation of the human rights of our women and young girls. They will have lasting psychological effects on these young people, perhaps for the rest of their lives. They represent a trampling on the dignity of our women, all of them, for an assault on one is an assault on all. It is an abomination in our society and a direct challenge to the equality of our women folk, subjecting them to humiliating male domination.

What more is left to motivate our women’s organisations, of all types – social, religious, community, youth – to come together and demand a programme of action to combat these violations? We are fortunate to have female lawyers, human rights advocates; women qualified in all fields: female Parliamentarians, social workers, educators, physicians, preachers and psychologists, journalists, outstanding in the public service and in business. How could our women, with such power in their hands, simply whimper in the face of such repugnant acts?

SEARCHLIGHT is repeating our wake up call to our women. Let us not take this literally lying down, but mobilize, get the support of all right-thinking menfolk and let us collectively come up with, and implement an action plan to deal with this scourge in our midst.

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