Lamu,KENYA:There is an increase in child sexual defilement cases in Lamu town and even then,many of them go unreported as parents and the community prefer to sweep such cases under the carpet whenever they occur,the Muslims for Human Rights Organization-MUHURI has established.
Young male children are sodomised while their female counterparts go through a whole lot of sexual defilement incidents and mostly at the hands family members and or people they know too well.
According to MUHURI,more than 10 cases of child sexual molestation are unreported in Lamu town every single month.
Speaking during a Multi-Stakeholders Consensus Building Dialogue Forum in Lamu on Monday,MUHURI Field officer Ummulkher Salim said it was unfortunate that many parents in the region prefer to keep silent when they children are sexually assaulted instead of reporting the matter to allow for the culprit to be brought to book and pay for their ill behavior as the law requires.
Salim said it was unsettling for any parent to pretend something didn’t happen and carry on with life when the affected children are left nursing lifelong psychological scars.
The Islamic religion requires that every girl be a virgin on their wedding night and that as such many parent whose young daughters are defiled prefer to go silent lest their child fails to get a suitor simply because she was defiled.
Residents also say it’s a shame for the public to know that anybody’s son was sodomised as it marks out the victim as a homosexual.
They say there is a lot of stigma that accompanies children who are known to have been defiled whether boys of girls and as such many parents keep quite to protect their children ‘dignity’.
“In as much as the children don’t call for such things to happen to them,we cant just speak about it.If it’s a girl who has for example been raped,she is safer is the parents go mum about it because later on,no one will want to marry someone who was raped who in other words isn’t a virgin.If it’s the boy who is sodomised,its even worse because the community brands the poor boy a homosexual and he becomes a target of more such incidents.What do we do,”said Sadha Muhsin.
Salim however says such beliefs are demeaning and selfish and don’t work in the favor of the affected children and as such must be done away with.
She said it was unfortunate that in instances where the defiler has been found out,many parents still prefer an out of court settlement that mostly includes the victims paying some money to the family of the affected child after which the matter is forgotten.
In Lamu,such cases are rampant in Lamu island,Tchundwa and Kiunga areas.