Women’s group speaks out over sexual abuse

Women’s group speaks out over sexual abuse
January 22 19:13 2018

A women’s rights group has criticised the lack of government action following three high-profile sexual assault cases this year.

The group, Uthema, said the lack of response could be seen as encouragement to criminals.

Earlier this month, an 18-year old was allegedly raped by a relative of a senior ruling party politician. A 24-year-old man was arrested on the island Kalaidhoo in Laamu atoll on charges of blackmailing a minor to commit a sexual act the week after.

A 25-year old woman was allegedly gang raped at her home on Thursday.

“We believe that lack of visible appropriate legal action by relevant authorities is encouragement to those who carry out such crimes, at a time when the danger of sexual assault and rape experienced by women and children in Maldives is increasing.

“We note that Maldivian culture has a tradition of victim blaming without blaming the perpetrators. We also believe giving it a blind eye in the general public is also an encouragement to such people,” said the statement published Sunday.

The NGO called on the government and the public to stop the raping of women in the Maldives, and to make islands a safe community for people to live without abuse.

Police recorded 417 cases of sexual assault last year. There have been 16 reported cases of sexual assault this year.