Let us defend the most vulnerable among us

July 4, 2014

The shocking rise in violence, especially sexual violence, against children should be a major cause of concern for every sane human being from community leaders to parents and elites alike. It is wholly unacceptable that our most vulnerable members of society are violated so easily. There has been a worrying escalation of the number of child sexual abuse cases in war torn areas of Africa with notorious cases being reported on a daily basis in Central African countries of Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa Republic. In 2011, the a Commission for Child Protection operating in Africa received more than 78,000 reports on violence against children, 67 percent of which were sexual abuse. The number rose in 2012 to 134,789 cases, with 61 percent of them alleging sexual abuse. In 2013, the figure increased further to 209,937 cases, 71 percent of which were cases of sexual abuse. In the first half of this year alone, 10,000 cases of violence against children have been reported across Africa with war torn countries accounting for more than 80% of the cases.Africans must change their mindsets and not view such incidents as bringing shame to the family by reporting the cases. Thousands of innocent young lives are at stake if nothing is done.

Sexual abuse of children is not a private family matter. It is public concern that should involve all of us including coders like Contador Harrison.Child protection agencies in Africa say this is just the tip of the iceberg, with thousands more cases going unreported, especially if the perpetrators are family members. To think that 2014 has been declared a year of emergency concerning child sexual abuse in Africa is both worrying and totally unacceptable. That something urgently must be done to stop this trend is obvious and that is why the recently concluded conference in London that highlighted the plight African children go through in war zones is a step in the right direction. Exactly what that something might be is what is now being debated but there is little being done. Certainly, greater enforcement of existing laws is a must, but it can be argued that the law should be changed to make punishment for such violence more severe.When I posted on Twitter recently that if I ruled the world, I would hang rapists alive in broad daylight, men followers inboxed me with un-bloggable language some calling me a ‘women sympathisers’ but I replied some saying that as a society we must go beyond viewing this issue as merely a matter of enforcement. If we are to stop the violence against children and women who are raped, we must involve the government, community leaders and parents. We cannot and must not look the other way.

Contador Harrison