Child molestation, sexual abuse and bachabazi have been a major issue across Afghanistan for a very long time. But, unfortunately, people are still not comfortable with bringing this topic up. People (especially older generations) often turn a blind eye to these kinds of issues because their egos and false patriotic pride will not allow them to acknowledge that Afghanistan has such a disgusting flaw.
Secondly, we superimpose our “honor” on children so much that when they become victims of sexual abuse, they fear speaking up about it for fear of ruining their family’s honor.
Moreover, law enforcement agencies also do not seem to be taking such cases seriously, so the victims lose hope and do not speak up.
165 reports of male students being raped across three schools in Afghanistan’s Logar province
According to a recent report by The New York Times, an advocacy group has documented systematic sexual abuse by teachers, principals, and other authorities of dozens of boys in the Logar province of Afghanistan.
From just three schools in one area of Logar Province, south of the Afghan capital, a child advocacy group said it had taken statements from 165 boys who said they had been sexually abused at their schools, or by local officials they went to for help https://t.co/iHahqj48vy
— NYT At War (@NYTimesAtWar) November 26, 2019
According to the campaigners who were the first to discover videos of abuse posted on a Facebook page, some of the victims have since been murdered.
Five families killed their victim sons after their faces exposed in videos shared on social media. Two other boys – a 13 and 15-year-old – were killed last week, although the perpetrators are unknown.
The victims of sexual assaults are finally speaking up
One schoolboy, Tamim, 17, from Logar province, said that he recorded his headteacher’s demands on his phone last year.
“He told me that he loved me and wanted to have sex with me,” Tamim said. His parents hadn’t believed him until they heard the recording.
Students said the headteacher had built a private room in the school’s library, where he molested male students after school and on weekends.
At the same school, another 17-year-old boy accounted for a similar abuse from the school’s principal. He said the school principal had threatened to kill him if he told anyone.
But the boys did talk, giving their accounts to a child advocacy group in Logar province. The advocacy group learned that those two boys were not the only victims. From just three schools in one area of the province, the group claimed it had taken statements from 165 boys who had been sexually abused either at their schools or by local officials they went to seek help.
After discovering clues about the systematic sexual abuse of boys in the area, the Logar advocacy group started questioning students across the region, finding dozens who admitted they had been victims of sexual abuse at the hands of their teachers or other officials. Many of their statements were also confirmed by their locals or teachers.
“As the reports unfolded, at least seven boys who said they had been victims of rape and sexual abuse were later found dead, most likely at the hands of their own families,” said Musa.
Mr. Musa further added that the advocacy group also took the victims’ statements to the Logar provincial police, but no action was taken whatsoever. He also said several boys who had agreed to be questioned by the police were raped again by the officers.
“We do not trust anyone, neither the Taliban nor the government,” Musa said.
Locals have confirmed the accounts to be true
One school is in an area controlled by the Taliban, while the other two schools are in areas under the government’s control. Wakil Kaliwal, the head of the education department in Logar, confirmed there were one or two cases of student rape in the province’s schools but denied reports of any sexual assault. He said the principal at Hamid Karzai High School had been accused of raping a boy and had eventually been transferred for beating another boy. Referring to sexual assaults of boys, Mr. Kaliwal said: “It is an issue across the country, and Logar isn’t exceptional.”
According to the head of the Logar provincial council, Hassibullah Stanikzai, bodies of several boys had been found in areas of Logar under Taliban control, but they could not find any evidence that their deaths were somehow related to any sexual abuse.
Hamid, a teacher at one school in Logar, said he had spoken to thirteen boys who claimed they have been victims of sexual assault the hands of their teachers there. Among the thirteen victims, families of three boys had moved away to avoid the social stigma of rape, especially after images were posted on Facebook.”
We can’t tell for sure if the cases at the three schools are related. But it is true that the prevalence of sexual abuse of young boys in Afghanistan has been a problem for ages.
Bachabazi (meaning boy play) is common among those in powerful positions who like to keep boys as sex slaves. The boys who are victims of bachabazi are forced to dress as girls and to dance for the predators before being raped. Sometimes the boys are even prostituted to the highest bidder.
The best way to cope with this evil practice is to introduce firm laws and give strict punishments to sexual predators. It is about time for the government to make laws to punish the culprits and protect such vulnerable children through a proper channel.
Let’s say no to Bachabazi and child abuse, and let’s stand together against such evils in our society. May Allah guide us all and save our loved ones from predators. Ameen.