Sexual Abuse and Neglect among Comoros' Children

The civic society of Comoro including Mwana Tsi Wa Mdzima Komor, Hifadhui, CAP, and Subuti Wambé hosted an awareness campaign to end sexual violence against children on Sunday 21st May 2017 in Said Mohamed Sheikh High School, Moroni. This followed an outcry over rising cases of sexual abuse of children.

The call to end sexual violence in Comoro is the cry of the more than 800,000 residents in the country. It is reported that 3 out of 4 children have been victims of sexual aggression with 6% of the victims being younger than 13 years. A recent study in the island of Mohelo revealed that out of 140 children interviewed of between 14 to 16 years, more than half of them confessed to have been sexually harassed. The evidence is overwhelming yet such cases go unreported and unresolved leaving the perpetrators prone to commit the same crime again and again. The argument has been that there is a lot of corruption to close such cases or there is a lot of intimidation and threats from the criminals. The fact remains that as we keep on searching for a solution, sexual violence continues to cause death and injury among the children of Comoros.

One recent incident occurred in the Hambou Village of Ngazidja Island where an 8-year-old girl was defiled and impregnated. The case could not go far since the culprit had ties with one of the prominent families in the area. Sexual violence against children is what drove the Non-Governmental Organizations to sensitize the community on the importance of protecting the children against exploitation.

Although there have been steps taken to end child abuse such as sensitization on the effects of rape, more action still needs to be taken. Both physical and sexual abuses are serious crimes and should be given much attention as any other offence. The law of Comoros clearly states that rape is illegal and punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.

An Offence such as sexual violence encourages immorality in our societies. In order to protect children from such malicious acts, culprits should be tried and punished in conformation with the law. Furthermore this will discourage other individuals from performing equally malicious acts against children.