Editorial comment – All against sex crimes

IT is shocking that a three-year-old girl was the youngest rape victim last month.
It is shocking that we live in a nation that has people capable of doing something that is unthinkable to say the least. That is the harsh reality though of life now it seems.
The startling revelation was made by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in its Rape and Sexual Offences Statistics for last month.
It stated a total of 26 counts of separate incidents were recorded last month, of which 25 were rape offences, while there was one sexual assault case. Of the 14 victims of the 26 incidents, 10 were under the age of 18.
We wonder whether this is a reflection of how fragmented society is.
The young victims will certainly send out worrying signals. It does inch out a sense of overwhelming concern for the safety of our young.
It is a concern when such young victims are abused and left to suffer great mental trauma.
It questions how much value we place on the family and on relationships and how much we appreciate human decency.
There were 14 people who faced charges for the 26 cases.
What is shocking though is that the youngest alleged perpetrator was an 11-year-old who allegedly raped a three-year-old girl, while in another case a 19-year-old man was charged for the alleged rape of his five-year-old nephew and his two seven-year-old nieces.
How can we even begin to comprehend the level to which some people will stoop to?
There were seven incidents where the victims and the accused were related. In another incident, according to the statistics given, a 38-year-old and a 55-year-old man were charged with rape and sexual assault of their 10-year-old niece.
A 55-year-old man was charged for allegedly raping his 21-year-old stepdaughter and in two separate incidents a 38-year-old grandfather and a 59-year-old granduncle were each charged with rape of their six-year-old granddaughter and 12-year-old grandniece respectively.
But there were two cases withdrawn after the complainants admitted to making false statements.
The statistics are shocking. They, however, should serve as a warning for parents and guardians. We must be vigilant. The question though is how do we protect against some of our very own family members?
We are dealing with terrible crimes.
There must be awareness of the rights of people to be free of sex crimes. Perhaps that should be inculcated at a young age and become part of a broader campaign to effectively fight sex crimes.

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