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Most of the victims do not report the abuse Most of the victims do not report the abuse Image sourced at citifmonline.com

Defilement Cases Rise In Malawi

Written by  Written By Grace KANTCHENTCHE Jan 31, 2017

Statistics from the Malawi  Police Service show a 13% increase in 2016 as compared to the previous year.

This is despite campaigns by the government and gender rights activists to fight the crime.

The increase in the cases has brought fear and shock among the citizenry because children as young as a year old are victims.

The Penal code in Malawi criminalises sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of 16 with or without consent.

However what is more worrying is that most of the victims do not report the abuse.

The silence is due to the psychological effects brought on by the experience, especially when the crime was committed by someone the child or their parents know.

In most cases the perpetrator develops trust with the child first before they engage in the act, telling the child simply that "it is okay."

Many of the perpetrators are usually people the girl knows, such as a father or step father, an uncle, and in some cases a family friend.

The victims likely suffer mental conditions as well as depression that can be experienced over a life time if not properly counseled.

Just this month alone, the media has reported more than eight cases of defilement.

For every case reported, the public has been expecting stiff punishment to be meted out in court but such has not been the case.

According to a paper presented by two Chancellor College Faculty of Law lecturers Ngeyi Kanyongolo and Bernadette Malunga, research shows a number of challenges in the legal treatment of defilement cases by both the formal and traditional systems and therefore the protection of girls from sexual abuse.

The paper adds that such challenges include inefficiencies in delivery of public services by such agencies as the police and courts as compounded by traditional systems. Ultimately, the combination of the two adversely affects access to justice. 

Over the years, both the government and the child rights activists have been involved in the battle against defilement.

The government insists that it is doing everything possible to eradicate the problem.

But it emphasizes that more needs to be done to eliminate the problem for good.

It is evident that there is need to review the laws to give stiff punishment to the perpetrators or else efforts to curb cases of defilement will not bear any fruits.

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 08:08

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