On May 15th 2017, a three-year-old girl from Ka Log village, Ye Township, Mon State, was raped by a 35-year-old, male neighbor. The child is currently in critical care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Mawlamyine’s Women and Children Hospital, according to Chief Physician Dr. Nine Oo.
Deputy Chief of Ye City Police, Officer Soe Mon, stated that the child was playing in her home compound when she was taken by her neighbor and raped in the plantation behind her home. The assault was discovered after the girl’s 25-year-old aunt and guardian, Mi B—, questioned the victim after the child was seen crying in pain. When asked, the child disclosed that she had been slapped in the face by their neighbor, while also indicating that a sexual assault had taken place.
On May 16th the girl’s aunt filed a report with the Ka Log village administration office. Upon arriving at the office, the aunt found that Village Administrator U Pyat Ta, Office Clerk Daw Mee, and two Village Development Committee members — U Tin Soe and U Nay Lin — had already gathered. Mi B— reported that after listening to her report of the rape of her niece, the village administrator and others present told her that they would solve the problem at the village level. Mi B— also reported that they pressured her not to report the case to the police, telling her that she had no witnesses to corroborate her story even if she did, while intimating that the perpetrator would seek revenge on her, endangering their lives upon his release from prison if he were convicted. The girl’s aunt was persuaded to accept 1 million kyat (US $740) in cash as compensation in exchange for signing an agreement stating satisfaction with the outcome of the case. In addition, the village administration office told her not to seek any medical treatment for the child, including going to Ye General Hospital or consulting with health workers or midwives.
Mi B— was told to report to the village administration office on May 22nd to receive her 1 million kyat compensation, however according to police records the victim’s family only received 400,000 kyat (US $296).
After receiving the compensation, the victim’s family remained silent about the rape, however the young girl continued experience severe pain from her injuries sustained during the attack. The girl was brought by her aunt to the Ye General Hospital where upon examination the doctor determined that the girl had been raped. The hospital refused to start treatment until the family reported the assault to the police.
“Before reporting to the Police Station, the victim’s family, the village administration, and other prominent persons in the ward, tried negotiate a mutual agreement and the problem was settled after the victim received 400 thousand kyat of compensation. When they [the family] reported to the police, we seized 350,000 kyat (US $259) in cash as evidence,” explained the Deputy Chief of Police.
After receiving the rape report by the girl’s family, the police questioned Village Administrator U Pyat Ta, Office Clerk Daw Mee, U Tin Soe, and U Nay Linn. However, they all denied their involvement with the case and stated that the issue was solved by mutual agreement negotiated between the victim’s family and the perpetrator.
On May 28th, Ye City Police arrested the perpetrator and charged him with rape under Burmese Penal Code 376 and criminal intimidation under Penal Code 506. The village administrator and others present at the meeting with Mi B— were charged under Burmese Penal Code 202, or intentional omission to give information of offense by person bound to inform.
According to reports, the Ye City Police need permission from the Ye Township General Administration Department (GAD) office in order to arrest the Ka Log village administrator, his clerk and the two committee members. The police have requested permission from the Ye Township GAD, however there has been no reply to date.
An unnamed social welfare group transported the three-year-old girl to Mawlamyine’s Women and Children’s Hospital where she finally received treatment two weeks after sustaining her injuries.
Sexual violence toward children in Burma has been an increasingly visible and controversial issue. Official police statistics show that reports of sexual abuse of children, especially young girls, has increased significantly over the last three years, rising from 43% of all reported rapes in 2013 to 61% in 2016.
This article is written and published by HURFOM