A 20-year-old Muslim refugee from Myanmar admitted to raping a 10-year-old refugee who was staying in the same home, according to the Daily Mail.
Court documents reveal Mufiz Rahaman, who was staying as a refugee in Australia, crept into the boy's room while the child's father was making lunch in January 2015. He took down the boy's pants and underwear and sexually assaulted him before the father came storming in.
Rahaman said he thought sexual assault was "not morally wrong" in his home country, and that he was sexually assaulted himself as a child.
He tried to pay the boy for what had happened, saying again that it was "culturally acceptable" where he was from, but when the incident was reported to authorities, Rahman was sentenced to five years in jail. He won't be eligible for parole until March 2018, due to the "high risk" of him sexually assaulting others.
The horrific incident sheds light on how rape is viewed and, oftentimes, swept under the rug in different cultures.
For example, police in Myanmar say there are only about 700 rape cases reported each year, with likely many more that go unreported.
Hla Hla Yee, director of Legal Clinic Myanmar, tells Myanmar Now that many victims refuse to speak about it in fear of bringing shame to their families, which only perpetuates a culture of "silence and victim blaming":
“Some abused women are hesitant to file a complaints about rape at the court or police station —- this has created challenges for us. We found a shocking number of child rape case last year."
And in Afghanistan, sexually abusing children, particularly boys, is rampant.
A recent New York Times report gave the example of Afghan police officers abusing boys brought to the base for them to have sex.
American solider Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. brought the issue to light in 2012, telling his father he heard boys "screaming" at night, but wasn't allowed to say anything.
His father, Gregory Buckley Sr., told the Times:
“My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
But it's not just Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian countries that have a "rape culture," it's a problem in African countries, too.
In Somalia, the Human Rights Watch group found one-third of sexual assault victims are children.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesperson Jens Laerke told reporters in 2013 that most of the perpetrators were men:
"Rapes continue to be perpetrated by unknown armed men and men wearing military uniform. Sexual and gender-based violence also includes domestic violence, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, and early and forced marriage...the majority of the survivors were women aged 18 and above."
The National Center for Victims of Crime says the effects of a child being sexually abused are life-changing.
Here are just a few of the things these victims will likely endure in their lifetime:
- Thumb-sucking and bed-wetting in younger children
- Sleep disturbances
- Eating problems
- Behavior and/or performance problems at school
- Unwillingness to participate in school or social activities
- Alcoholism or drug abuse
- Anxiety attacks
Victims like Rahaman's might also have their sexuality develop "inappropriately," causing them to become "interpersonally dysfunctional."
Muslim Refugee Rapes Boy, Arguing He Thought It Was ‘Acceptable.’ Here’s Why He Might Think That KAYLA BRANDON Sept 02 2016
ELECTED OFFICIALS DEMAND ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY FOR MILITARY UNITS FOUND ENGAGING IN PEDOPHILIC BACHA BAZI.
U.S. lawmakers are pressing Washington to get tough on institutionalized sexual slavery of boys by Afghan forces, with some invoking a human rights law that prohibits American aid to foreign military units committing such violations.
The call follows an AFP report in June which revealed the Taliban are exploiting the entrenched practice of pedophilic “bacha bazi” (boy play) in the Afghan police to mount deadly insider attacks in the country’s volatile south.
The revelation prompted congressman Duncan Hunter to demand U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter take “immediate steps to stop child rape” amid an American military presence in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense replied to Hunter last week, stating in a letter seen by AFP that it was committed to holding perpetrators accountable.
The letter added that General John Nicholson, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, had “reaffirmed” tactical guidance “stating that when U.S. personnel suspect members of [Afghan security forces] have violated human rights, including child sexual abuse, they must report that… to appropriate [Afghan] officials.”
The response falls far short of a zero tolerance policy, Hunter said.
“At the very least, the U.S. government should state, as a position of official policy, that child rape amid a U.S. force presence won’t be tolerated and expectations should be imposed on how allegations and evidence are handled,” he told AFP this week. “So far that’s yet to occur beyond a simple reporting requirement.”
That view was echoed by other U.S. lawmakers who last year called on watchdog agency SIGAR to launch an independent probe into “predatory sexual behavior” by Afghan forces, which is still ongoing. Many had expressed shock over media reports suggesting the U.S. military had disciplined American personnel who tried to intervene to stop bacha bazi abuse, and urged SIGAR to focus on the implementation of the so-called Leahy Law.
The 1997 law, named after Senator Patrick Leahy, prohibits U.S. assistance to allied foreign military and police units against whom credible evidence of grave human violations exists.
Leahy “is concerned that DoD was not treating this issue seriously enough until it was reported in the press,” his office told AFP this week. “He believes that anyone who engages in [child sex abuse] is ineligible under the Leahy Law for U.S. training, equipment or other assistance and should be prosecuted.”
The fresh call to apply the law comes ahead of a crucial donor conference on Afghanistan in Brussels in October. The war-battered country remains heavily dependent on international financial and military assistance.
“[Leahy] is the legal backstop that’s intended to promote a zero tolerance policy,” said congressman Thomas Rooney. “If the law is not being administered appropriately or sufficiently… that’s a huge problem, especially in places like Afghanistan where we have spent billions on training their security forces.”
The ancient custom of bacha bazi, seen as a culturally sanctioned form of male rape, remains widespread in Afghanistan. In June an AFP report cited multiple officials who said it was entrenched in police outposts in southern Uruzgan province, where the Taliban are exploiting the ‘addiction’ to recruit victims for insider attacks.
The Taliban rejects the claim.
Kabul announced a “thorough investigation” but it has yet to pass legislation criminalizing bacha bazi and no initiatives have been publicly announced to rescue any children enslaved at security outposts.