FB furore over child rape sees results
HANOI: Vietnamese cops took three months to respond seriously to allegations that an 8-yearold girl had been molested, but then outrage spilled onto Facebook and they made an arrest in days — a rare win for public opinion in the communist country.
The girl was sexually abused by a family friend near her aunt’s house here in January, but the complaint by her enraged mother fell on deaf ears.
That was until the news spun out onto social media with Facebookers demanding to know why pleas for legal action went unanswered.
Suddenly last week, a deputy prime minister called on police to take the case seriously and the suspect was arrested, offering a window into how the wheels of justice turn in Vietnam.
But her distraught mother, Nga said the ordeal was not over for the young victim, who still wailed in her sleep.
“Doctors said my daughter’s genitals were hurt... they said there were signs of sexual violence.
“I never thought it could happened to my girl. It’s been heartbreaking seeing her cry in her sleep, still in so much fear.”
With no independent media in Vietnam, many people turn to social media to share public opinion.
But, even popular sites like Facebook are closely monitored by communist authorities, ready to jail anyone veering too far into territory deemed incendiary.
Last week’s Facebook furore prompted a different kind of reaction from officials in a country that has made the headlines for paedophilia before.
In 2006, British rocker Gary Glitter was convicted for molesting children as young as 10 in Vietnam, where he had an oceanside home.
But, the country has mostly avoided the headline-grabbing molestation cases seen in neighbouring countries.
According to police figures, there are about 1,000 reported cases of sexual abuse in Vietnam every year. Experts warn many more go unreported.
Recent data and the publicised cases “are just the tip of the iceberg”,