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Child rape is routine in Malawi


In the African nation of Malawi, one in four children will be raped. Many of those will be raped repeatedly. Orphans are especially targeted for regular sexual abuse.

From Canadian Star…

Dr. Neil Kennedy says he sees an average of 20-25 child sexual abuse cases of a month referred to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi.

I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly.

“Yes, that many,” he confirmed. “I was working a shift last month when I saw three in one day.”

Our conversation was part of a discussion on sexual violence in Malawi. Kennedy, head of pediatrics and child health at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine, proceeded to dispel any doubts about the scale of the problem.

He called attention to a report titled “Suffering at School: Results of the Malawi Gender-Based Violence in Schools Survey,” which was published in 2005 and based on interviews with more than 4,400 youth from various segments of society.

“Almost one in four children have been forced to have sex against their will,” the document states, “Repeat victimization is common.”

Indicating that little has changed in the six years since that report was published, Malawi’s Daily Times newspaper recently reported that it carried 16 stories covering 22 cases of child sexual abuse for the months of August and September 2011 alone.

Tackling child rape in Malawi is “messy,” Kennedy sighed.

He recounted an example.

A mother brought her seven-year-old daughter into the hospital, the largest health centre in Blantyre, with a case of tuberculosis. TB is a common indication of HIV, and so doctors suggested the girl be tested; the result came back positive, but the girl’s mother swore that she was negative – and an HIV-test of her own confirmed that.