Is Sexual violence on the increase?

By Phillipa Emma-Kingston

Sexual abuse of minors has become a menace to our society. Girls as young as 14 years and below, including children under 5, are frequently abused by men old enough to be their fathers.

Between January to July 2019, the Rainbow Centre recorded over two thousand cases of sexual assault; 52 percent of those cases involved children between the ages of 11 to 15 years and 14 percent of them were tested positive of pregnancy.

Even though the statistics appear to be very alarming and suggestive of an increase in sexual violence across the country, Daniel Kettoh, Executive Director of the Rainbow Centre holds a contrary view. He believes the figures are as a result of an increase in reported cases propelled by an increase in awareness.

“Whatever way you look at it, you will agree for a moment that the numbers are unacceptably high,” a social media commentator posited in a WhatsApp forum where this writer is also a participant.

Following the expiration of a national emergency declared on rape and sexual violence in June this year, policy makers, right activists and other stakeholders engaged in the process of reviewing the Sexual Offences Act of 2012 to not only increase the punishment for sex offenders but also to increase protection for women and girls by making sure their human dignity is accorded the fullest support.

Last week Thursday plenary sitting of the legislative house saw lawmakers conscientiously agreed to pass into law the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill.

The revised law now includes life imprisonment for the offence of sexual penetration of a child and also caters for the provision of a forensic laboratory to aid police investigations of such cases.

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