Witness reports child rapes amid campaign against sexual abuse
TWO children were reportedly raped in Mandalay on the same day the city rallied for stricter penalties for people guilty of sexually abusing minors.
A witness reported to railway authorities that he had seen a man abusing a young girl and a young boy near the back of the Mandalay Railway Station on November 27.
“I saw a suspicious scene involving two children from the place where I was urinating. I looked up to be sure what was happening was what I thought it was,” said the witness. “I called for passerby to come and help. They also saw the scene. I took pictures on my phone to use as evidence, and people caught and detained the man.”
According to Police Lieutenant Soe Oo, the suspect is a 40-year-old homeless man from Myitkyina who sleeps near the train station where the train carriages are changed. He is accused of raping a seven-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl.
“It seems he persuaded the children with snacks,” said the witness.
The police and railway security arrested the suspect. The man has been charged under sections 376 and 377 of the penal code.
The children’s stepfather said that the man would often play with the children.
“I don’t know about the law or about how to take against him but our children are afraid and won’t say anything to us,” he said.
Mandalay social welfare organisations have been campaigning to revise the criminal code to include increased penalties for perpetrators of sexual assault against children. Two art installations, including a photo exhibition and a mural painting, were staged on November 26 and 27 to help raise public awareness.
“I drew this mural to draw the public’s attention to the issue, in the hope that it will be eradicated in the future,” said MC Print, a local youth graffiti artist. “This is my contribution to the fight against rape and sexual abuse in Myanmar.”
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has asked the Union Attorney General’s Office to increase the maximum penalty for child rapists, Minister U Win Myat Aye told reporters outside parliament on November 28. He added that if the proposal is accepted, the modified sentences would range from a 10-year minimum to a life sentence. – Translation by Win Thaw Tar
and Khine Thazin Han
Artist MC Print paints a mural in Chan Aye Tharzan township to raise awareness about sexual violence.