Father who repeatedly raped 7-year-old daughter on the run from Kamarwat Town as police seek to press charges

February 14, 2019

HURFOM: On February 4th 2019, charges were filed against a 35-year-old man from Kamarwat Town, Mudon Township, Mon State, for the repeated rape of his seven-year-old daughter thanks to the resolve of Daw Kyi Kyi Aye, the girl’s school principal, and the intervention of Daw Mya Thein Ge Maw, a Mawlamyine-based lawmaker.

As Daw Kyi Kyi Aye reports, the girl arrived at school on the morning of January 24th 2019 wearing a dirty school uniform and in need of a bath. Out of concern for the child’s well-being, Daw Kyi Kyi Aye took it upon herself to bathe the young girl.

During the bath, I saw the girl’s genitalia appeared to have been injured. When I asked her if she was okay, I learned that the girl’s father had been abusing her since her mother had passed away [more than a year ago],” said Daw Kyi Kyi Aye, the school principal.

According to residents living close to the school, the girl successfully hid from her father when he came to pick her up from school that day, eventually returning home without his daughter. It remains unclear why the girl was free to return to her father’s house.

After seeing that the girl was alone on the street that night, local residents brought her to the house of the ward administrator. The next morning [January 25th], the administrator summoned the girl’s father and aunt, and it was decided that the girl would live with her aunt,” according Daw Kyi Kyi Aye. It is not known whether the father’s abuse of his daughter was discussed during this meeting.

The girl’s aunt alleges that her niece said she did not want to live with her, so on January 26th the girl’s aunt brought her back to the ward administrator who decided that the girl should be returned to the custody of her father.

Having learned that the young girl was again living with her father, Daw Kyi Kyi Aye informed the ward administrator that she would take responsibility of the girl, and by January 30th the girl had been placed in Daw Kyi Kyi Aye’s care.

The girl had been telling her neighbors that her father was raping her for a long time, but the neighbors did nothing to help. I think they were worried that they would have to take care of the girl if they spoke out, so they stayed silent,” said the principal.

On February 4th, Daw Kyi Kyi Aye went to the Kamarwat Police Station to have rape charges filed against the girl’s father but was turned away after being informed that the police could not press charges without first speaking with the girl’s father and investigating the allegations.

Frustrated with the response she received, and determined to bring the girl’s father to justice, Daw Kyi Kyi Aye travelled to Mawlamyine to report the girl’s father to the Department of Social Welfare. There, she met with Daw Mya Thein Ge Maw, a lawmaker working with the department, telling her of the ongoing sexual abuse, and that Kamarwat Police were unwilling to proceed with charges.

Members of the Kamarwat Police Force were also at the office, so Daw Mya Thein Ge Maw met with them and discussed the allegations. The police then spoke with me and told me to file a report against the girl’s father when I returned to Kamarwat. Because of the lawmaker, the police pressed charges against the girl’s father,” said the Daw Kyi Kyi Aye.

Kamarwat police charged the girl’s father under Penal Code 376 (Punishment for rape) and 511 (Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with transportation or imprisonment). However, the girl’s father is believed to have fled Kamarwat, meaning police have been unable to proceed with the charges.

The Mon Women’s Organization (MWO) and the Mon National Education Committee (MNEC) say they will take care of the girl. At the moment, the girl is with me, and the MWO is providing financial support. I will send the girl to stay with the MWO soon. I feel unsafe because the perpetrator hasn’t been apprehended yet. I’m afraid he’ll do something to me,” said Daw Kyi Kyi Aye

In 2017, a total of 61 cases of rape were reported to Mon State police, 44 of which were cases of child rape, whereas in 2018 this number rose to 80, with 57 of these cases involving the rape of a child. The rise in reports of child rape from 44 to 57 signals a 29.5% net increase in cases of child sexual abuse reported in Mon State between 2017 and 2018, which is in keeping with a broader Burma-wide trend of increases in the reporting of sexual abuse to authorities over the last five years.

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