About 120 million girls around the world – slightly more than one in 10 – have been raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 20, a UN report says. The children’s agency Unicef also says 95,000 children and teenagers – most of them in Latin America and the Caribbean – were murdered in 2012 alone. It notes that children around the globe are routinely exposed to violence, including bullying.
In the same week, The Economist discussed a shocking child sex abuse scandal in the UK. Here’s an extract from the Economist article:
The investigation … uncovers a catalogue of offences, mostly by Pakistani men against white girls. Children as young as 11 were plied with drink and drugs, raped, beaten and trafficked to be abused by men in other cities. One was doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight. Another told the investigation that gang rape was a usual part of growing up in her district. The report estimates that some 1,400 children—some from fragile family backgrounds, some in the care of the state—were abused between 1997 and 2013.
It tells us that repression, abuse and ignorance are a serious issue in developed economies as much as emerging ones. It is especially worrying that people paid from the public purse to eliminate this primitive behaviour instead turn a blind eye to it, in some cases even insulating offenders from control or education.
From the UN Report: Violence against children
- 120m girls – one in 10 – are raped or sexually attacked by age of 20
- Boys also report experiences of sexual violence, but to a lesser extent than girls
- The most common form of sexual violence for both genders is cyber-victimisation
- 95,000 children and teenagers were murdered in 2012
- Slightly over one in three students aged 13-15 experience regular bullying in school
- Six out of 10 children aged between two and 14 are physically punished by carers
Perhaps the saddest observation is that abusing women is culturally accepted. UNICEF notes that:
Close to half of all adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 (around 126 million) believe a husband is justified in hitting his wife under certain circumstances. The proportion rises to 80 per cent or more in Afghanistan, Guinea, Jordan, Mali and Timor-Leste. Data from 30 countries suggest that about seven in 10 girls 15-19 years old who had been victims of physical and/or sexual abuse had never sought help: many said they did not think it was abuse or did not see it as a problem.
Do you still think we live in a civilised world?
Violence is not inevitable. Don’t ignore bad things in your community. Stand up to bullies. Make the world a better place.