– 17 cases in two months
It would appear as though reports of young boys being sexually molested are on the increase. Statistics emanating from the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) revealed this worrying trend.
In just the first two months of this year, the Ministry of Social Protection has received 17 reports of boys being sexually abused.
The previous year, 2016, saw a total of 118 reported cases of boys being molested. This represents a troubling increase from the 108 reported cases recorded in the previous year. In 2014, there were a total of 60 reported cases of boys being sexually molested, with 80 in 2013, and 89 in 2012.
The majority of boys suffering from abuse in all of its forms, are between the ages of eight and 13. According to the January and February figures, a total of 130 boys who fall within this age range, were being abused in some way or the other. About 49 of the victims were ages 14- to 18-years-old.
Disturbing to note, is the fact that even the toddlers weren’t spared. Eighty-five of these boys were abused during the tender age of zero to three-years-old.
Director of the CPA, Ann Greene has indicated that these figures may just represent a fraction of the trauma being faced by Guyana’s children.
“The irony of this is that, it is not the true picture, since child abuse is a hidden crime. This may only be a tip of the iceberg,” Greene told a forum recently held by the Rights of the Child Commission.
She explained that a number of cases go unreported, since some children literally do not have a voice.
“They are either too young to report the abuse, and in many cases, they are reluctant to tell on the perpetrator, who is more often someone they trust and love,” Greene said.
She added that parents have proven to be a serious threat to their children’s health and development.
“…and the high incidence of child sexual abuse cases are cause for concern, because they do not correspond with the perpetrators being brought to justice.”
Between January and February of this month alone, a total of 765 cases of children being abused were recorded. Of this extremely troubling figure, 58 of these cases resulted in the intervention of the Guyana Police Force. However, only nine of these cases passed through the court system.
Although the unreported instances of children being abused may reflect an even higher and more disturbing state of affairs, Ms. Greene is warning against interpreting the increase in the number of reports, to mean an increase in the number of cases of abuse.
“Many times it just means that more people are aware of what constitutes child abuse, and are more active in reporting some of the atrocities committed against children,” the CPA Director said.
She explained, too, that the increase in the reports of boys being sexually abused also signals a shift in their behavioural pattern.
“What you would find these days, is that more boys are opening up. More of them are talking about their experiences and that kind of thing. A few years ago, it was more difficult for them to do so,” Greene noted.
She explained that while the number of girls being abused is significantly higher, young boys are also burdened by a lot of silent suffering.
In 2016, there were a total of 734 children being sexually abused. This figure reflects an increase from the 676 cases recorded in the previous year. Some 628 cases of children being molested were dealt with in 2014, followed by 670 in 2013 and a massive 753 in 2012. (Rehana Ahamad)
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