GENDER AND EQUALITY
Goal 5 promotes the principle of gender equality.
SDG 5.2 “Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation”.
Sadly, sexual abuse and exploitation is something that we see a lot of. Nearly 20% of the children whom we supported in 2016 had experienced this, and we’ve had 11 new cases already in 2017. Over the years, we’ve also come across the practice of ‘baby-farming’, where girls are imprisoned, forcibly impregnated and then their babies are taken and sold to people who want to adopt them. It’s absolutely appalling.
Socially, there is still a lot of stigma attached to sexual abuse of children. In many cases the child is blamed for inappropriate behaviour, and that is seen as the cause of the abuse. We also see cases where a payment to the child’s parents, and an undertaking not to do it again, is considered to have resolved the matter. There is very little support to the child, either medically or psychologically. So there is a huge amount of work to be done to challenge these attitudes, and to ensure that children receive the support they need.
We address this in several ways. We provide practical support – helping the children to access medical care and counselling. It’s hard to believe that a child who has been raped may not be able to get medical care if they do not have money to pay for it, but that is the reality. We also help children to bring a case against the perpetrator. I am really proud that our legal team have secured successful prosecutions for child sexual abuse. It is so difficult given the constraints that they work under, but they are determined to succeed! In addition, we engage with local communities, to educate both adults and children about child sexual abuse and what needs to happen to support a child who experiences this. Between 2014-2016, we’ve directly reached over 600 children, teachers, parents, pastors and community leaders through community workshops on child sexual abuse, and this is work that we intend to continue and expand.