Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Big Stories from India, UK & Germany Lead Today's Global PnP List

Sex with minor wife is rape, rules India SC: 

Order ends 'tacit acceptance' of child marriages

This is a big deal; a game-changer if they actually apply it

India Deya Bhattacharya

The Supreme Court on 11 October made a landmark ruling stating that sexual relations by a man with his minor wife would be considered rape, and a criminal case would be registered against him on her complaint.

In the concurring judgment, a bench of two judges, justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, read down Exception 2 of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which exempted rape in case of marriages of minor girls.

According to the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, the age of consent was amended from 15 to 18. However, the bench clarified explicitly that it reserved its opinions on the issue of "adult marital rape" because it was not the subject matter of the present case before the court.

The court was in session and the ruling was on a public interest litigation (PIL) by an NGO, Independent Thought, that challenged the exception to Section 375.

This provisional exception exempted marital rape of girls between 15 and 18 years of age by their husbands. Independent Thought’s plea was that all minors should be protected from rape under Indian criminal law, irrespective of marital status. The discrepancy in protection from rape results in an obvious legal vacuum where girls between the ages of 15 to 18, who are married, are unprotected by criminal law from forced and intrusive sexual intercourse.

The petition referred to various provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO), 2012 that were at odds with Section 375. According to POSCO, a physical relationship with a minor constitutes rape and sexual relations between a man and his minor wife are not exempted under this legislation.

Supreme Court of India
Pronounced the judgment, Justice Lokur stated: “The exception carved out under Section 375 (which defines rape) exempting marital rape for minors is artificial and contrary of Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution of India.”

The Central government’s argument was to retain the Exception 2 to Section 375 on the ground that “the Parliament was conscious of its social obligation".

Rana Mukherjee, the senior counsel for the central government, stated that aggrieved girls between the ages of 15 to 18 can seek protection under the POSCO as well as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA).

He also suggested that the petitioner should ask for relief under "sexual abuse" defined in the PWDVA. Sexual abuse under PWDVA is defined as "any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of a woman". Another argument of the Centre is similar to its arguments on the criminalisation of marital rape where it said that if recognised as a crime, it could “destabilise the institution of marriage” and it would be a weapon to harass husbands.

The petitioner's arguments were based on constitutional rights that her rights under Article 14 (Right to Equality Under Law) and 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution of India were violated because of the discrepancy between the provisions to protect young girls. Moreover, the contention was also that the discrepancy classifies women into two categories based solely on their marital status but such categorisation did not have any reasonable nexus to the object in mind.

“The said provision classifies girl children below the age of 18 years into two categories: (i) namely those who are married, and (ii) those who are not married. A husband can have sexual intercourse with his wife if she is above the age of 15 years irrespective of her consent. However, for all other purposes, the age of consent is 18 years. The petitioner submits that this classification has no rational nexus with the object sought to be achieved."

The petitioner also looked at the dichotomy between the Exception 2 of Section 375 as well as other statutes such as POSCO, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 and Juvenile Justice Act 2000. “All the (above) said acts regard a girl less than 18 years as a child. POCSO specifically bars all sexual activities with girl children below the age of 18 years and the offence is aggravated if the accused is related through marriage. In its attempt to protect status quo, the Parliament has chosen not to increase the age of consent in case of a married girl from 15 to 18 years thereby impinging on the Fundamental Rights of the girl child. If a girl is not mentally and physically fit to give consent till she reaches 18 years, her marriage at age of 15 years or 16 years or 17 years does not change the situation."

While the verdict ends all such discrepancies and disparities, it also ends a "tacit acceptance" of child marriages because of Exception 2. Child marriage has been declared illegal and remains a punishable offence, but in many rural parts of India, it is still practised.

The bench stated that “the exception in rape law under the IPC is contrary to other statutes, violates bodily integrity of girl child” and stated that the Centre and state governments must take proactive steps to prohibit and end the phenomenon of child marriage across the country.

The verdict is a progressive one, more so because the Supreme Court’s stance would, hopefully, result in a flurry of amendments to criminal laws in India.

Vikram Srivastava, the founder of Independent Thought, spoke with Firstpost and said that the first stage was the recognition of the right of young girls to be protected from abuse and that has been achieved and that it is a liberal step forward.

“The judgment will boost the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign and girls will be saved from abuse after this verdict. What we now need is to raise the age of young girls to 18 for a comprehensive Right to Education,” he added.

Three Girls: the real-life story of Rochdale’s
sexual abuse scandal

Maxine Peake and Lesley Sharp star in the three-part series following the story of three victims groomed and abused by a sex ring

Three Girls – a harrowing new drama from the BBC – brings to the screen the real-life child sex abuse ring in Rochdale and the subsequent investigation which led to the conviction of nine men in 2012.

The three-part series is built around a trio of girls – Holly, Amber and Ruby – who were befriended, groomed and abused by a gang of mostly Pakistani men in Rochdale in Greater Manchester.

But what really happened? And how accurate is the three-part series?

Were Holly, Amber, Ruby and Sara real? 

Holly, Amber and Ruby are three real-life victims, with changed names, chosen by writer Nicole Taylor to be the focus of the drama. In total, 47 young girls were interviewed as potential victims of the gang, which operated in the Heywood area of Rochdale. None can be named unless they waive the right to anonymity granted to all sexual abuse victims.

Sara Rowbotham was indeed employed as Rochdale’s crisis intervention team coordinator between 2003 and 2014. She played an instrumental role in gathering information on the abuse ring, thanks to her relationship with many of the victims. She writes in the Guardian: “I had a perfect view of how this criminal activity was beginning to emerge from the shadows.”

How accurate is the drama?

Three Girls has been made with the full cooperation of the victims and their families and lists Rowbotham (played by Maxine Peake in the drama) as a consultant in its credits.

Writer Nicole Taylor also spoke to Andrew Norfolk, the Times journalist who broke the first story on the scandal, and the court case’s chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal.

When did the attacks carried out by the Rochdale sex ring take place? 

The case wasn’t brought to trial until 2012 but the offences that were investigated took place between 2008 and 2009.

Why was there such a gap between the offences and the trial?

A large part of the media storm that erupted in 2011, when the case hit the press, was down to the lapse in time between the crimes and the decision by the police to press charges.

Back in 2008, a victim known as Girl A (whose story is similar to Holly’s) made allegations of abuse after she was arrested for criminal damage. Her alleged abusers were arrested and questioned but the CPS decided not to prosecute in July 2009, ostensibly because they did not believe Girl A would be a credible witness. She later became a pivotal witness in the 2012 trial that led to the nine convictions.

It was journalist Andrew Norfolk, working as a reporter for The Times, who – after noticing a wider pattern of sexual offending in the Rotherham area – published a story in the newspaper in 2011 which put the offences in the public eye. His extensive reporting led to an independent enquiry, overseen by Professor Alexis Jay, which found that 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period.

Rochdale’s police force and social workers were subsequently accused of failing to act despite compelling evidence of a multitude of sexual crimes committed against children. It has been suggested that they chose not to investigate for fear they would be accused of racism, given that the majority of the perpetrators were of Pakistani origin.

Norfolk told Radio Times he had initially shied away from writing about the Pakistani grooming gangs because “I didn’t know how to tell it without saliva dribbling down [BNP leader] Nick Griffin’s chin.”

What happened to the abusers? 

Of the abusers shown in the drama, the most prominent was Daddy (played by Simon Nagra). Real-name Shabir Ahmed, the gang’s ringleader went by the nickname “Daddy” in real life and was sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2012. The then-59-year-old received an extra 22-year custodial term in the same year, this time for repeatedly raping a girl, but the judge ordered the two sentences to be served concurrently.

Way to go judge! You wouldn't want to be called a racist now.

Top row, left to right, Abdul Rauf, Hamid Safi, Mohammed Sajid and Abdul Aziz; bottom row, left to right, Abdul Qayyum, Adil Khan, Mohammed Amin and Kabeer Hassan

Ahmed was one of nine men, most of Pakistani origin, convicted at Liverpool Crown Court, for sexual offences committed against young girls from Rochdale. The other offenders were: Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Sajid, Adil Khan, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammed Amin, Hamid Safi and Kabeer Hassan. A further offender, Mohammed Shazad, absconded while on bail after his first arrest.

What was the fallout to the scandal?

Greater Manchester police issued an apology to victims of the Rochdale child sex abuse scandal in 2015. Following an internal review, looking at the conduct of 13 officers between 2008 and 2010, assistant chief constable Dawn Copley said “mistakes were made and victims let down” but the force chose not to discipline a single officer.

Detective Margaret Oliver (played in the drama by Lesley Sharp) told Radio 4’s Today that the review “doesn’t go nearly far enough”.

Of course not! Reviews are designed to placate the public and victims while minimizing the consequences to those who failed them.

Oliver – who resigned from the police force in October 2012 – is still in touch with many of the victims and recently told the Guardian: “I’m speaking to kids who are telling me that even to this day they are seeing offenders that they’ve named, walking around Rochdale. Somebody saw one in London, another person told me that one has moved around the corner from her.

“That’s why I’m saying things haven’t changed, because those men have been named by those girls [to the police…] and I know that they’re still out there walking around.”

Child abuse in the GDR - First taboo, then ignored

Child abuse was far more taboo in the former GDR than in the West, an abuse committee has found. There was no counselling for victims because, in the socialist state's eyes, child abuse did not officially exist.

Deutschland Geschichte Berlin Kinder spielen an der an der Mauer (ullstein - Lehnartz)

A report analyzing 250 cases of child abuse in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) found that the communist East German state offered "no solutions or assistance" to child abuse victims.

"Officially, sexual abuse did not exist" in East Germany, Stefanie Knorr from Gegenwind, a counselling center for those who continue to suffer from the political trauma of the GDR dictatorship, said during Wednesday's hearing into the findings.

Speaking in Leipzig as part of the commission tasked with investigating child abuse in Germany, Knorr pointed out that there was no professional guidance or therapy for victims in East Germany. "The socialist personality had to be free of psychic abnormalities," she added.

"The socialist personality had to be free
of psychic abnormalities"

The commission said it launched its investigation into abuse in the GDR after it found noticeably fewer people from the East had been in contact to report their abusive experiences.

Christine Bergmann, a former German family affairs minister, told the public hearing that the "long silence" still had an effect today and that victims continued to feel "stigmatized."

The socialist state's blind eye

Former German President Gauck visits Stasi Records Agency

Committee members maintained that the reason victims were effectively ignored was because criminal behavior in the GDR was viewed as if it were perpetrated against the socialist state, rather than the victim. 

While abusers were sentenced and rehabilitated, the commission found that perpetrators employed by the East German Ministry of State Security (MfS) were dismissed before being given a civilian job as they awaited the court judgement. In some cases, sentenced MfS staff were given new identities and even continued to work for the ministry unofficially after leaving prison.

Abuse was also commonplace in state care homes and orphanages. Corinna Thalheim, who heads an initiative aiming to raise awareness around abuse in the GDR's infamous children's care homes, said that sexual violence against minors had received little public attention since German reunification and that all kinds of abuse perpetrated in the GDR must be investigated and treated equally.

Amen to that!

Toddler gives evidence in court to put
child abuser behind bars

© Fred Prouser / Reuters

A two-year-old girl has become the youngest person to give evidence in a British criminal case, leading to a man being jailed for 10 years for sexual abuse.

The girl spoke to a specialist child abuse police officer answering simple “who,” “what” and “where” questions, and pointing to parts of the body on a paper figure.

She also gave a mouth swab for forensic analysis without any difficulty, after everyone in the room put on blue gloves and played with swabs by pretending to brush their teeth to make her feel comfortable.

The decision to involve such a young witness in a prosecution was vindicated by the fact the defendant in the abuse case pleaded guilty before it came to trial, the Guardian reports.

Say what? That makes no sense! 

The man was sentenced this month to more than 10 years in prison for sexual offences against a child. Neither the police force involved nor the defendant has been named in order to protect the identity of the child.

The case has been highlighted by the NSPCC and other child protection experts for proving that sexual predators who target children are wrong to believe that no one could give evidence against them.

“We have seen children as young as two years old able to give a credible, basic description of what has happened to them with the help of intermediaries,” said Jenny Hopkins, the chief crown prosecutor and national lead on violence against women and girls at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

She added that special provisions will always be made for very young witnesses, so that they feel at ease with the process. That might include conducting interviews in makeshift dens.

An NSPCC spokesperson told the Guardian it was “hugely positive” that the girl was well supported and that it wanted to see far more “well-trained, independent experts to ensure justice is done.”

Raising Awareness on Sexual Exploitation
and Abuse in the DRC

The MONUSCO Conduct and Discipline Team (CDT) has organized a series of awareness-raising activities in the communities of North Kivu on the dangers of sexual abuse and exploitation by MONUSCO and UN staff (last story on link) in general. 

This community awareness was organized by the CDT office in North Kivu (Petit Nord) with the financial support of the Department of Field Support and the Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DFS / DPKO )with the support of the MONUSCO Strategic Communications and Public Information Section in collaboration with the Goma Youth Center (Maison des Jeunes de Goma) and the Nyiragongo theater group .

The sensitization campaign on Awareness-Raising took place in Bujovu (on the outskirts of Goma) on 5 October, in Sake on 6 October and in the Higher Institute of Commerce (ISC) on Saturday 7 October.

During the campaign the actors of different troops were able to transmit their messages through sketches of theatrical performances, music and dance as well as series of questions and-answers sessions organized by the Conduct and Discipline Team. All the activities which were organized on the streets of these localities had an impressive popular participation of children, women, students, youths as well as men of all age groups and walks of life.

The key messages conveyed by the actors included amongst others that the United Nations, and MONUSCO in particularly, has its own internal justice system where investigation is carried out to prove if the staff was guilty or not.

Of course, it never finds anyone guilty.

Every UN official guilty of sexual exploitation and abuse after investigation will be punished by MONUSCO and may also face the Justice System of his country of origin stressing on the fact that the mission and that United Nation as a whole has a zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse committed by anyone working with MONUSCO and the United Nation as a whole.

Of course, no country ever prosecutes MONUSCO veterans.

Moreover MONUSCO Code of Conduct prohibits all National and International personnel from having any sexual intercourse with a child (a person under 18 years of age). Other unacceptable misconducts include any form of rape or attempted rape, sex with a prostitute and sexual relations in exchange for anything (good, service, money by use of intermediaries to obtain sexual favors.

Of course, MONUSCO soldiers completely ignore this code of conduct.

The Population was encouraged to report promptly to the Conduct and Disciple Team any cases they had witnessed such an act committed by a MONUSCO employee. While victims and their relations were cautioned that they can also speak directly to MONUSCO or to the community Volunteer focal points there.

Reiterating to the Community to avoid false accusations that are unfounded with the sole purpose of harming MONUSCO or United Nation Staff members. 

MONUSCO should be training their own personnel on their code of conduct and coming down hard on them when they break it. That, however, is not what appears to be happening. This project looks like a PR stunt and I would be very surprised if there is any real improvement in the dreadful amount of sex abuse and child sex abuse that MONUSCO wreaks upon the poor people of the DRC.

North Kivu, DRC

Childline conducts awareness on child rights
By EMN   

Childline officials and section of the participations during the awareness cum sensitisation programme on child rights on October 11.

Childline Dimapur in collaboration with Euro International School, Midland, Dimapur, conducted an awareness cum sensitisation programme on child rights by focusing on child sexual abuse with the targeted audience being the teachers and mothers of the students on October 11.

The team consisted of Ms K Ela, Collab Director, Childline Dimapur; Ms Lozua Kape, Centre coordinator Childline Dimapur; and Waden, Childline team member.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Lozua Kape, besides briefing on Childline and its activities, disclosed that sexual abuse cases of children as young as 6/7 years were reported. She said in most cases, the child abusers were people known to the children and their families and added that sexual crimes have became a reality in the state.

She stressed on the prime need of mothers and parents to educate their children, who are too young to understand on the difference between good and bad touches and how and where to look for assistance.

Sharing experiences on cases taken up by Childline, Ms K Ela disclosed that any man or woman can be an abuser. She said the abusers could be a driver, step father, step brother, step grandparents, elder brother’s friends, brothers, uncles, neighbours, biological father, employers, etc.

Besides urging the mothers to report cases of any sexual abuse and avail the Protection of Children against Sexual Offence Act (POCSO Act) which safeguards children, she also stressed upon the mothers to start playing major roles in bringing change to the society.

The programme also highlighted on issue of child sexual abuse and how to deal with it through an informative and educative movie. The programme concluded with an interactive session with the mothers.

New Brunswick man accused of possessing
images of child sexual abuse
CBC News

A 67-year-old man from Sussex Corner has been charged with making child pornography available, possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography, according to New Brunswick RCMP.

On June 8, police seized several electronic devices during a search of a Sussex Corner residence, RCMP said.

The search was carried out by the RCMP's internet child exploitation unit, which included members of the Saint John police, Kennebecasis regional police and the RCMP technological crime unit, and the Sussex RCMP.

The man appeared in Saint John provincial court Tuesday and remains in custody. He is scheduled to reappear in court on Nov. 16 at 9:30 a.m. 

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