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Barbaric injustice: Maldives child rape victim to recieve 100 lashes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 28th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A 15-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes and eight months house arrest for "premarital sex." The young girl who lives in the Maldives may choose to receive the punishment now, or wait until she is 18. Her case was discovered after authorities found a dead baby she mothered. Her stepfather is responsible for the pregnancy.

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - Amnesty International is alerting all to this case which highlights the horror of Sharia law. Specifically, a victim of a heinous crime is being punished precisely because she is a woman. The Maldivian government claims to be powerless to halt the punishment, but insists that the flogging is "ceremonial" and doesn't hurt.

According to Maldivian authorities, the girl confessed to fornicating with her stepfather during a court hearing. She has since been informed she can receive the punishment now or when she turns 18.

In the meantime, she is serving a sentence of 8 months house arrest in a "children's home."

Her crime appears to be that she is a victim of rape by her stepfather. The rape was discovered after she became pregnant and gave birth. It is unclear if the child was born alive or dead, but authorities discovered the child's body. Subsequent investigation revealed the rape.

Authorities say the stepfather is also facing charges, but they have not elaborated on those charges or what penalty they may carry.

The crux of the problem is that a child has been sexually abused and the government has failed to protect her. More astoundingly, the government by employing a seventh century legal code, intends to punish her for being a victim.

Several Maldivian officials have told Amnesty International and the media that the flogging isn't painful, but that it's ceremonial instead, which raises the question of why it would be practiced in the first place.

Floggings administered to minors not carried out in public, so it is difficult to ascertain without speaking to as victim, if they are painful or not. However, even if they are not physically painful, they are certainly psychologically traumatizing. A victim tied to a whipping post or otherwise bound, feels powerless and ashamed, regardless of guilt. This is inappropriate for a survivor of sexual assault.

It is unclear if international outcry and national humiliation will suffice to sway the Maldivian government away from its barbarism in this case. Still, the government insists that flogging is both lawful and appropriate and there is no sign the law will be changed anytime soon.

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