Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

UNICEF exposes Abuse of Children in Swaziland

Richard Rooney recently brought my attention to a report written by UNICEF (UN Childrens’ Fund) with the title Swaziland: Every Third Woman Sexually Abused As a Child. This is scary! According to this report, a third of all Swazi women have suffered some form of sexual abuse as a child and a fourth of the women are experiencing physical violence. Furthermore, it says: “In two years, Swaziland will have a population of 200,000 children orphaned by AIDS – more than one-fifth of its population, according to UNICEF. With HIV prevalence at 33.4 percent among people aged between 15 and 49, the country has the world’s highest infection rate. As a result, life expectancy has halved from nearly 60 years in the 1990s to just over 30 years today.”
On at least two occasions I posted something about women and AIDS in Swaziland. In one post I wrote about AIDS and the lack of respect for women and in another about Women and AIDS in Swaziland. After reading about this UNICEF report, I was once again appalled by the things happening in this country, things which very often becomes the cause of the growing number of people with HIV and AIDS in Swaziland.
Obviously we have to be careful that we don’t see this problem as being restricted to Swaziland only. In all countries children are being abused and women are being exposed to physical violence. Yet, somehow I do feel convinced that, when a third of all women claim that they were sexually abused as children, then something is seriously wrong. It is also reported that “only 43.5 percent of girls said their first sexual experiences were freely willed and devoid of coercion: a little less than five percent said they had been introduced to sex as rape victims.”
We have daily contact with vulnerable children – mainly orphans – at our church at Dwaleni, where we provide food for them. People have asked me whether the solution would not be to start with homes where the children can be properly cared for. But how does one provide accommodation for 200000 children? This is impossible. But I can’t help wondering how many of the children who leave our church every day to return to some home where they live (be it with a grandmother or another family member) are being abused without us knowing about it.
Perhaps, some day, God will give us the wisdom how to handle these situations in such a way that the children will be able to speak out about their experiences. But by keeping quiet about this, we are equally guilty of the things happening to them.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - Posted by | HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Mission, Social issues, Swaziland, Theology, Women

3 Comments »

  1. This website doesnt have enough information…

    Comment by Msoujlagirl♥ | Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Reply

  2. at least on this topic…i need info. about children in swaziland..like what they do..what they eat…how they survive…and how they are taken care of

    Comment by Msoujlagirl♥ | Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Reply

  3. Are you referring to how they live and how they eat in general or are you referring specifically to what organisations such as ours are doing to help them?

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Reply


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