Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Humanitarian Child Rapists

From CNN:

Humanitarian aid workers and United Nation peacekeepers are sexually abusing small children in several war-ravaged and food-poor countries, a leading European charity has said. [...]

Children as young as 6 have been forced to have sex with aid workers and peacekeepers in return for food and money, Save the Children UK said in a report released Tuesday.

After interviewing hundreds of children, the charity said it found instances of rape, child prostitution, pornography, indecent sexual assault and trafficking of children for sex.

In the article there is a mention of the shocking level of under reporting by those who have been victims of these humanitarian rapists, but there is nothing genuinely shocking about this because of the power these rapists have over their victims. It is this power differential which gives most of these rapists the ability to commit their crimes with almost no fear of being held accountable.

People who would never think of strolling to their home neighborhood grade school looking for rape victims will rationalize doing just this in another country either because they believe they will never be caught or because they rationalize what was unacceptable into being acceptable. Calling young children "sexually mature" is one of the most popular rationalizations for sexual violence.

The reporting by victims is also reduced because of the rapists' decision to use starvation and poverty as weapons to gain their victim's cooperation. This cooperation is then twisted by rapists and too many observers into a mockery of genuine consent.

All governments and agencies which send people in to provide help need to be proactive at preventing sexual violence and exploitation by their own staff and they need to be proactive at detecting violations by their own people and by others who they interact with.

This means making it clear that "it was consensual" will not be a valid defense for allegations of child rape. The same type of background checks which are done before people can work with children in the US should be done before an agency sends people as aid workers to other countries.

The most vulnerable should not be the group which is made responsible for lack of reporting and lack of accountability. If victims aren't reporting, there are underlying problems which are out of the victims' control and which needs to be corrected by those who are there as humanitarians or peace keepers.

What many people forget is that mechanisms for reporting which fail to include protections for victims and the people victims care about will fail.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:28 AM   1 comments links to this post


At May 28, 2008 5:37 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

One glaring omission from this report is the gender of those perpetrators committing child rape and other forms of child sexual abuse. Most of the perpetrators are male yet this article like so many obviously believes we must on no account mention the gender of those who commit rape. By omitting the gender of perpetrators it effectively hides male sexual violence against women and children.


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