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"Respectable" man sexually abuses minor in central island: Police

Shahudha Mohamed
02 July 2020, MVT 18:57
A protestor holding up a sign that reads "who will take responsibility?" in a demonstration held on the streets of Male' City, against all forms of sexual violence and to hold perpetrators and the authorities accountable, on June 29, 2020. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
02 July 2020, MVT 18:57

Maldives Police Service revealed on Thursday that authorities were investigating a case of sexual assault in a central island, involving a minor aged below 15.

According to police, the alleged assaulter is a man in a "respectable position".

The case was reported on July 1 to the North Central Police Division, the jurisdiction of which falls upon the atolls of Kaafu, Alifu, Alifu Dhaalu and Vaavu.

Although authorities have yet to make any arrests regarding the case, Police assured that the investigation is ongoing.

In order to protect the identity of the minor, authorities have not revealed the island and atoll in which the crime had occurred. Further details into the crime, including perpetrators and age, were not disclosed either.

On Tuesday, authorities confirmed two separate cases of underaged girls that were impregnated by rapists. A 37-year-old male was arrested on Thursday in relation to one of the cases.

Public ire continues to soar over the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting perpetrators of sexual offences despite several promises to support the rights of children and women.

On June 29, a protest was held amidst public outrage over the sexual assault of a foreign woman aboard a safari last weekend. Police arrested two suspects from the scene of crime but released them shortly after, leading to controversy and allegations that authorities are "politically influenced" by those in power.

Prior to this, two cases of child sexual abuse were reported to the authorities on May 27 and July 10, as well as a number of similar cases earlier this year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, a collective of gender equality advocates originating from Family Legal Clinic (FLC), Nufoshey and Uthema Maldives also launched the #FundOurSafety initiative, voicing demands to declare rape and sexual offences as serious criminal offences and reallocate state funds for the protection of victims.

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