by Princess Daisy Boo 73 Replies latest jw friends

  • skeeter1

    1) Ghana = A haven, except for the 2 soldiers who were found dead in a hotel room. But, I'd travel here, despite that. Perhaps we should book the trip?

    2) Zanzibar = Another good choice.

    3) Egypt = OK, but I'm not into female circumission.

    4) Mororocco = where the country gives you a "religion card" and you have to ask the government for permission before visiting another church. (I had a male co-worker from Morocco & we had alot of discussions on religious freedom). As a Muslim, he could go to jail for breaking any of the Muslim laws. Just eating during a holy day, let alone going to a hotel with a girl.....(hotel checked your religion card before renting you a room). Should I, as a woman, live there alone? Can I walk the streets at night alone? I think not.

    4) Ethiopia = As the author Peter THeroux stated, as long as the neighboring rebel bandits aren't around and you don't go near the border.

    SAFETY AND SECURITY: While the country is generally stable, domestic insurgent groups, extremists from Somalia, and the heavy military buildup along the northern border pose risks to safety and security, particularly along Ethiopia’s border areas and in the Somali region. Additionally, civil unrest and political demonstrations have turned violent since the May 2005 elections.
    Ethiopia/Eritrea Border Area: Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in December 2000 that ended their border war. American citizens should exercise caution if they travel to areas off the principal roads along the Eritrean/Ethiopian border (within 50 km/30 miles of the Ethiopian/Eritrean border) because of the possibility of land mines. There is a UN peacekeeping mission in the border area. Due to abductions and banditry all travel within 30 miles of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border west of Adigrat to the Sudanese border, with the exception of the town of Axum, and within 60 miles east of Adigrat to the Djiboutian border is generally discouraged. Embassy personnel are allowed to travel there only on a case-by-case basis. Travel to the northern Afar Region towards the Eritrean border is also discouraged. Embassy personnel are permitted to travel there only on a case-by-case basis.
    Somali Region: Since the mid-1990's the members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) have clashed with Ethiopian government forces clashed near the city of Harar and in the Somali regional state, particularly in the Ogaden zones. In April 2007, the ONLF claimed responsibility for attacking a Chinese oil exploration installation south of Jijiga, in Ethiopia's Somali region. The attack resulted in the death, kidnapping and wounding of dozens of Chinese and Ethiopian citizens. (Didn't Wolf Blitzer/CNN do a report on this????)American citizens are reminded that the U.S. Embassy strongly discourages travel to Ethiopia's Somali region and that a Travel Warning for Somalia has been issued that advises against all travel to that country. Armed insurgent groups operate within the Somali, Oromiya and Afar regions of Ethiopia. In December 2006, the Ethiopian Government, at the invitation of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, began military operations against extremists in Somalia. As of November 2007, military operations continue in Mogadishu, where an African Union peacekeeping force, AMISOM, is deployed. 5) Reunion

    6) Angola = again, how are you going to get around?

    SAFETY AND SECURITY: The security situation in Angola has improved markedly since the end of the civil war; however, Americans should still exercise caution when traveling in Angola. Although the war has ended, ground travel throughout Angola is occasionally problematic due to land mines, which were used extensively during the war. Travelers should not touch anything that resembles a mine or unexploded ordinance. Frequent checkpoints and poor infrastructure contribute to unsafe travel on roads outside of the city of Luanda. Police and military officials are sometimes undisciplined, but their authority should not be challenged. Travel in many parts of Luanda is relatively safe by day, but car doors should be locked, windows rolled up, and packages stored out of sight. Visitors should avoid travel after dark, and no travel should be undertaken on roads outside of cities after nightfall.

    CRIME:Crime is a serious problem throughout the country. While most violent crime occurs between Angolans, foreigners have occasionally been attacked as well. Street crime is a regular occurrence in Luanda. The most common crimes are pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, vehicle theft, and vehicle break-ins. Armed muggings, robberies, and carjacking involving foreigners are not frequent but do occur. Police and military officials are sometimes undisciplined, but their authority should not be challenged. In general, movement around Luanda is safer by day than by night. Air travelers arriving in Luanda are strongly advised to arrange reliable and secure ground transportation in advance. Use only regulated taxi services since unregulated taxis are unsafe and can present a crime risk.

    7) Sudan = where the land mines are left over from war, and the country erupts in violence between the Christian and Muslim secitons. Of all the places, this is my LEAST favorite place & the one country I would not venture into right now. Peter Theroux painted a picture of hardly any electricity, plumbing, water, got shot at, open wife beatings in the streets. So, don't invite me to Christmas dinner at your home in Sudan. But, I will give you that there are really handsome & pretty people.

    SAFETY AND SECURITY: On January 1, 2008, unknown assailants shot and killed two U.S. Embassy employees - an American USAID officer and a Sudanese national driver. Terrorists are known to operate in Sudan and continue to seek opportunities to carry out attacks against U.S. interests. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, or kidnappings. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, which include tourist sites and locations where westerners are known to congregate, and commercial operations associated with U.S. or Western interests. Terrorists are known to have targeted both official facilities and residential compounds. Anti-American sentiment is prevalent and Americans should exercise utmost caution at all times.

    The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services in Sudan, including emergency assistance, is severely limited. Many areas outside the capital of Khartoum are extremely difficult to access.

    Travel in many parts of Sudan is hazardous. Outside the major cities infrastructure is extremely poor, medical care is limited, and very few facilities for tourists exist.

    Conflict among various armed groups and government forces continues in western Sudan, in the states of North Darfur, South Darfur, and West Darfur. Banditry and lawlessness are also common in the west. Many local residents are in camps for internally-displaced persons, and receive humanitarian assistance for basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. Expatriate humanitarian workers have been the targets of carjackings and burglaries.

    Land mines remain a major hazard in southern Sudan, especially south of the city of Juba. Visitors should travel only on main roads unless a competent de-mining authority such as the UN has marked an area as clear of mines. The armed Ugandan group known as The Lord’s Resistance Army is present along the southern border and reportedly has announced it will target Americans.

    Occasional clashes between armed groups representing communal interests continue to occur in the centrally-located states of Upper Nile, Blue Nile, and Bahr al Ghazal. Banditry also occurs. Sudan shares porous land borders with nine other countries, including Chad, the Central African Republic, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Conflict in these countries occasionally spills over into Sudan.

    Americans considering sea travel in Sudan's coastal waters should exercise caution as there have been incidents of armed attacks and robberies by unknown groups in recent years, including one involving two American vessels. Exercise extreme caution, as these groups are considered armed and dangerous. When transiting in and around the Horn of Africa and/or in the Red Sea near Yemen, it is strongly recommended that vessels convoy in groups and maintain good communications contact at all times. Marine channels 13 and 16 VHF-FM are international call-up and emergency channels and are commonly monitored by ships at sea. 2182 Mhz is the HF international call-up and emergency channel. Wherever possible, travel in trafficked sea-lanes. Avoid loitering in or transiting isolated or remote areas. In case of emergency, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. In the event of an attack, consider activating Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons.

    8) Nigeria = come on, didn't you read the other posters letter on Nigeria's current state?

    1. This Travel Warning is being re-issued to note the deteriorating security situation in the Niger Delta region. It supersedes the Travel Warning for Nigeria issued January 20, 2006. 2. The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Nigeria.The lack of law and order in Nigeria poses considerable risks to travelers. Violent crime committed by ordinary criminals, as well as by persons in police and military uniforms, can occur throughout the country. 3. The security situation in the Delta region has deteriorated significantly. Travel to the region remains very dangerous and should be avoided. On January 11, 2006, one American and three other expatriates aboard an oilfield service vessel were kidnapped off the coast of Bayelsa State. Over the last several months, the region has been subjected to a series of attacks on oil company facilities that may be coordinated and have resulted in the death of over twenty security personnel. A militant group claiming responsibility for the recent kidnapping has made public threats against oil company employees and their families, demanding they leave the region. 4. In recent months, Lagos and Abuja have also witnessed spikes in crime. Some expatriates have been robbed in the outlying Lagos suburb of Lekki, and in Abuja, the Maitama area has seen a series of home invasions. In a working class section of mainland Lagos, an October 2005 clash between police and residents left several dead. Even Victoria and Ikoyi Islands, which are generally safer than other parts of Lagos, have experienced attempted bank robberies, and have seen an increase in smash-and-grab car robberies, including some involving expatriates. 5. Religious tension between some Muslim and Christian communities results in occasional acts of isolated communal violence that could erupt quickly and without warning. The states of Kano and Kaduna are particularly volatile. Rival ethnic groups have clashed violently in the Niger Delta region around Warri city and in Southeast Plateau State. Senior al-Qaida leadership has expressed interest publicly in overthrowing the government of Nigeria. Links also were uncovered connecting Nigerians to al-Qaida in 2004. 6. Road travel is dangerous. Robberies by armed gangs have been reported on rural roads and within major cities. Travelers should avoid driving at night. Because of poor vehicle maintenance and driving conditions, public transportation throughout Nigeria can be dangerous and should be avoided. Taxis pose risks because of the possibility of fraudulent or criminal operators, old and unsafe vehicles, and poorly maintained roads. Road travel in Lagos is banned between 7:00 and 10:00 AM on the last Saturday of every month for municipal road cleanup; police vigilantly enforce the ban. 7. Most Nigerian airlines have aging fleets, and maintenance and operational procedures may be inadequate to ensure passenger safety. Domestic passenger airliner crashes in October and December 2005 resulted in numerous deaths. Because international flights tend to meet higher safety standards than domestic Nigerian flights, travelers should attempt to get direct international flights to/from their Nigerian destination, rather than transiting another Nigerian city such as Lagos. For domestic travel between Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, the U.S. Government encourages its employees to use Virgin Nigeria Airlines or Aero Contractors. 8. Some Nigeria-based criminals conduct advance fee fraud and other scams that target foreigners worldwide. These fraudulent activities pose great risk of financial loss. Recipients traveling to Nigeria to pursue such fraudulent offers have been subject to physical harm, and local police authorities are often unwilling to help in such cases. No one should provide personal financial or account information to unknown parties. Under no circumstances should U.S. citizens travel to Nigeria without a valid visa – an invitation to enter Nigeria without a visa is normally indicative of illegal activity. Furthermore, the ability of U.S. Embassy officers to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is limited. Persons contemplating business deals in Nigeria are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any information or making any financial commitments. See the Department of State's publications "Tips For Business Travelers To Nigeria" at

    9) Madagascar = this is an island off the coast. I'd agree with you here, but I hate the destruction of its natural resources. The river & ocean runs red with the run off.

    10) Kenya = Peter Theroux stated that the Safaris and National Parks were safe.....but that's not where you live. Kenya doesn't sound like the place for me to live...

    SAFETY AND SECURITY: On August 7, 1998, al-Qaida bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, killing 225 people and injuring over 5,000 around the Embassy. The U.S. Embassy subsequently relocated outside of the city-center. On November 28, 2002, al- Qaida launched a bomb attack on a hotel in Kikambala, Kenya, (near Mombasa) in which 15 people were killed. A near simultaneous attempt to shoot down an Israeli charter plane departing Mombasa was unsuccessful. These incidents have highlighted the continuing threat posed by terrorism in East Africa and the capacity of terrorist groups to carry out attacks. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites and other sites where Westerners are known to congregate.
    Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on December 27, 2007. In the wake of the announcement by the Electoral Commission of Kenya on December 30 declaring the incumbent candidate Mwai Kibaki as the presidential winner, violence erupted in strongholds of the opposition party. The violence, which appeared to be ethnically and politically based, was concentrated in Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Western provinces, as well as Nairobi and parts of Coast province. At least 1,000 people have died as a result of the post-electoral civil unrest and more than 300,000 have been internally displaced. Additionally, disruptions in public transportation services have occurred as a result of political violence, strikes, or work stoppages. There continues to be the potential for spontaneous violence due to simmering political grievances caused by the disputed election.
    Political demonstrations can occur sporadically throughout Kenya. Travelers should maintain security awareness at all times and avoid public gatherings and street demonstrations. Violence, including gunfire exchange, has occurred at demonstrations in the past. Demonstrations tend to occur near government buildings, university campuses, or gathering places such as public parks. Police are generally unable to properly manage large demonstrations and they often resort to excessive force to break up large crowds. Most major tourist attractions, particularly outside Nairobi, are not generally affected by protests. However, tribal conflict in rural areas has been known to erupt into violence.
    Cross-border violence occurs periodically. The area near Kenya's border with Somalia has been the site of a number of incidents of violent criminal activity, including kidnappings. In September 2007, the U.S. Embassy issued a warning that Islamic extremists in Southern Somalia may be planning kidnapping operations inside of Kenya, targeting Westerners, especially Americans, in the Kiwayu Island tourist area and other beach sites on the northeast coast near Somalia. U.S. citizens who decide to visit the area should be aware that they could encounter criminal activity.
    Reports of violence continue in the North Eastern Province near the Somali border and the Northern Rift Valley over disputes involving land, cattle, and water. A number of deaths were reported in the violent clashes. Northern Kenya border areas continue to be plagued by cross-border inter-clan and intra-clan clashes. While foreigners are generally not targets of this type of violence, insecurity in these areas during such times usually increases, placing constraints on travel and threatening safety and security of travelers in the immediate area.
    Some sparsely populated rural areas of Kenya, principally in the North, experience recurrent, localized incidents of violent cattle rustling, counter-raids, ethnic conflict, tribal or clan rivalry, and armed banditry. During the past several years, incidents have occurred in the Keiro Valley, Northern Rift Valley sections of Laikipia and Nakuru Districts, and other areas north of Mount Kenya. A number of incidents have also occurred near the game parks or lodges north of Mwingi, Meru, and Isiolo, which are frequented by tourists. The precise areas tend to shift over time. Recent cattle rustling incidents have involved firefights between hundreds of members of rival tribal groups and the theft of thousands of head of cattle at a time. For these reasons, U.S. citizens who plan to visit Kenya are urged to take basic security precautions to maximize their safety. Travel to northern Kenya should be undertaken with at least two vehicles to ensure a backup in the case of a breakdown or other emergency.

    11) Seychelles = I agree with you here. Like Madagascar, these are islands off the coast of Africa.

    12) Benin = ok, but don't go near the Nigerian border...

  • Quandry

    Actually, the issue is Daisy Boo's family. If she feels that the place she lives is not safe, then it is definetely time to move. Staying to make some sort of statement can be very dangerous.

    I live in the Houston Texas area. There are some areas of town that I would not go to at any time of the day or night, no matter how much of a "statement" I wanted to make. It would be foolhardy.

    I have not been to South Africa. But I do know this. Criminals of any color do not care what your politics are. They just want what you have.

    Especially if there are children involved, it becomes imperative to give them a safe future, wherever you feel you must go.

  • skeeter1

    Daisy Boo wrote "Google Jacob Zuma, South African policy on AIDS, Crime Statistics, Loadshedding and you will get an idea of just a few of the challenges we face, but mostly I am keen to leave because of the crime."

    I didn't know that it was family issues. Is it shunning? Is it crime? Is it that she's is scared for her family in Jacob Zuma?


  • sammielee24

    Tangible experiences might presume to be more of an allowance for opinion, however, there is always the very real possibility that if a person voices those experiences in any way not compatible with the thought process of the listener - that they will then be accused of having some motive behind it - perhaps hatred or racism.

    The opening posts from people living in South Africa, show concern over rising violence and inequities - they live there, we don't and that makes their observations valid. Certainly there are children playing somewhere in Africa while the parents have dinner with friends, there is happiness and joy - people find those things in the direst of circumstances, but it does not lessen the severity of the situation.

    Written by Payntor, an African columnist - part of her lengthy article in which she praises the SA police forces for their responses to the crimes.

    And so to the issue which I would really like to discuss with you today: Crime. A touchy subject, but one which cannot be ignored. It has too big an influence on the lives of most South Africans (we all have security bars, alarms, panic buttons, etc.) to pretend it doesn't exist.

    When I commenced writing this column about twelve months ago, I maintained that my "letters" would not become a vehicle for negative publicity about South Africa, but rather that by my work I would strive to spread positive messages about this beautiful country. I still maintain this ideal and endeavour to bring you the good news, so to speak, because to coin a phrase which is currently popular here, I am "Proudly South African".

    South Africa has a lot of good things going for it, as I have documented in the past: Its climate, for one. I have a friend who has just recently returned from London, having spent nine months there. What was the reason for her return? Being used to our days of (for the most part) sunshine, she could not tolerate the cold, wet, weather any longer - it made her moody!

    Our people are another one of our best assets. We are a friendly, diverse and hard working nation - a microcosm of the world in one nation, if you like. We have representatives from each nation and language and so many different races of person who can be called one hundred percent South African. We truly are a rainbow nation and we have all the joy and happiness that is associated with that colourful weather phenomenon.

    For a third, South Africa's fledgling democracy goes in its favour. Nine years into our democracy, inter-racial tolerance has come a long way.

    However, flying in the face of all this are a few things going against the successful future of South Africa, most notably the AIDS pandemic and the wave of violent, inhuman crime which has escalated so immensely since the death penalty was abolished some years ago.

    To cite a current example, some days ago a mother and her one year old baby as well as her mother-in-law to-be were hijacked (after celebrating the baby's first birthday at a restaurant). Later, a sixteen year old girl, independent of the family, was also abducted by the same people. The mother, mother-in-law and sixteen year old were raped and beaten repeatedly. The mother was able to send an SMS to her fiancÈ requesting help. Unfortunately, it is believed that the hijackers caught her in the act of sending the message. She was beaten further, and together with her baby and her mother-in-law was murdered execution style. The sixteen year old girl was shot in the mouth and left for dead. She is now recovering in hospital.

    Crime itself breeds hatred. There is now a bereaved father, son and fiancÈ, and a violated sixteen year old girl who will find it hard not to become prejudiced. For South Africa to work our citizens need to understand that LOVE AND COMPASSION BREED LOVE AND COMPASSION, and conversely, HATRED AND CRIME BREEDS HATRED AND CRIME. That is the negative side of the affair.

    Raw sewage flows in the street

    The Zimbabwean

    Wednesday, 12 March 2008 21:03
    - for seven long months

    Without water, electricity or sewerage for seven months, residents of
    Tafara and Mabvuku are living under appalling conditions. Here are some of
    the images taken by a concerned amateur photographer, who put his safety at
    risk to expose the scandal.
    The lids on the manholes in the streets are lifting and raw human
    excrement is flowing out of them. The stench is unbearable. The whole
    sewerage system has collapsed and, even after seven months, nothing has been
    done to repair it.
    People have attempted to dig a makeshift canal so that the filth can
    flow into a pit. Their only source of water is a well, just 10 feet away
    from this stinking trench.
    More than 40 people have died from diseases such as dysentery. Human
    excrement is flowing out of the residents' toilets and into their backyards
    where they grow their vegetables. Many can't use the toilets because they
    can't even open the door to get in. They can't clean up because they don't
    have enough water.
    One young woman who uses a wheelchair was now a prisoner in her home.
    She can't get the wheelchair outside because of the mess so, when she needs
    the toilet, she wheels herself to the back door and does her business just
    outside the doorway.
    What looks a little like paving stones is actually dried human
    excrement, six inches deep. Mealies are growing in the same area.
    Children are exposed to the danger of disease every day. The filth is
    lying stagnant around the shops, butcheries and schools and vendors are
    selling fruit and vegetables in the midst of all this waste.
    The people who live here cannot enter their premises through the front
    gate because raw sewage is blocking the entrance. They have to go next door
    and climb over the fence.

  • skeeter1

    "proceeded to do what, I am not sure, but if you come after me attacking me in the unwarranted way you did, what do you expect?"

    Layla, from my perspective, it was you who attacked me first. I made a post. After my post, you posted. In your post, you stated something to the effect that "Could you even name 10 countries in Africa."

    I took this comment as an put-down; that I didn't know a thing about African geography, let alone African politics. You, basically, told me I was ignorant on Africa. Please explain if I took your words wrongly. After that, you have called my ideas ignorant, and me childish and silly.


  • skeeter1

    Layla wrote "How about if someone said you are a mess, but they never met you."

    My real name is Britany Spears. All you know about me is what you read in court documents and in the news. You have never met me. Most people say that I am a mess? Why?

    I'm sure Britany Spears has some good qualities. But, overall, I'd say she's a mess. She's volatile, untrustworthy, etc.

    Take most of the countries in Africa. All I know is what I read in books & what the State Department warns on. I have never been there. I think that Africa is a mes? Why? It's volatile.

    Yes, there are a few safe countries in Africa. I think we came up with a handful, including barrier islands. But, how long has their calmness been inside these peaceful countries? Take Zimbabwea? A few years ago, it was the zenith of Africa. Now, not good.

    To place residency in a country, you're talking about investing in a home and putting down tracks for your children. Volatility is not what I want for my children. Neither does Daisy Boo.


  • skeeter1

    Traumatised South African children play 'rape me' games

    About this article

    Close This article appeared in the Guardian on Thursday March 13 2008 on p18 of the International section. It was last updated at 00:05 on March 13 2008.

    South African schoolchildren are so affected by crime that they play games of "rape me, rape me" and mimic robberies in the playground, according to the country's human rights commission. In a report on school violence published yesterday, the commission said schools were the "single most common" site of crimes against children, such as robbery and assault, including rampant sexual violence, some of it by teachers.

    The commission said it had identified a number of games pupils played in response to the violence, including one in which they pretended to rape each other. "This game demonstrates the extent and level ... brutalisation of the youth has reached, and how endemic sexual violence has become in South Africa," it said.

    The report said that a fifth of all sexual assaults on young people occurred at school. A survey of 1,227 female students who were victims of sexual assault found that nearly 9% of them had been attacked by teachers.

    The commission also found that some boys committed what they called "corrective rape" on lesbians, justifying the assault by claiming that it would make the victims heterosexual. "There is a growing phenomenon of corrective rape. This refers to an instance where a male learner rapes a lesbian female learner in the belief that after such a sexual attack the learner will no longer be lesbian," the report said.

    A separate study by the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme found that a quarter of secondary school students said that forced sexual intercourse did not necessarily constitute rape.

    The human rights commission report said that more than 40% of the young people it interviewed had been victims of some form of crime. It recommended that the education department consider introducing metal detectors and fences at schools, after the Red Cross children's hospital in Cape Town said it commonly treated school pupils who had been assaulted with fists, knives, machetes or guns, or who had been raped.

  • skeeter1

    Southern Africa: Trying to Understand the Unspeakable Crime


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    UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

    12 March 2008
    Posted to the web 12 March 2008


    Burgeoning unemployment, rising inflation and trade deficits are signs of a weak economy, but could child abuse be added to the list? As rates of this crime continue to climb, experts say economics is no longer just about numbers.

    Sexual violence against children in Zimbabwe has increased by more than 40 percent in the last three years, according to UNICEF country spokesperson James Elder; studies cited in the South African Medical Journal report the country's own stats have shot up 400 percent in the last decade.

    "There's no doubt the economic crisis, social stress and orphan emergency are large factors," Elder said. "One in four children are orphaned, and that means more than 1.5 million vulnerable children. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by unemployment, economics and the ensuing stress on families."

    Cases of child sexual abuse - like those of their adult counterparts - are often under-reported; some countries, such as South Africa, may not aggregate crime statistics by age, making the exact scope of the problem debatable.

    Dr Rachel Jewkes, director of the health Gender and Health Unit at South Africa's Medical Research Council, argues that there has been no increase in sexual violence against children in the last ten years.

    Joan van Niekerk, the national coordinator of Childline, a South African child advocacy organisation, admits the rising numbers might be partly due to better awareness of the crime but, like Zambian activist Katembu Kuamba, says the increasing number of children at her organisation's door are hard to reason away.

    The myth of the virgin myth

    "The numbers of children being [abused], sometimes by their own fathers, brothers, uncles, teachers or even our men in the church [pastors], are getting out of hand," said Kuamba, executive director of the Young Women's Christian Association in Zambia.

    "One assumption is that our awareness programmes are working and, therefore, more people are reporting such cases; the other assumption is that abuse is on the increase because of the myth that sleeping with a child or a virgin could cure HIV."

    In 2001, sexual violence in the region made headlines with the rape of Baby Tshepang, a nine-month-old girl in South Africa's Northern Cape Province, who was brutally raped. Although infant survivors of rape usually undergo immense physical trauma, Baby Tshepang survived and her case created media frenzy around infant rape as well as its links to the region's HIV epidemic.

    However, Jewkes said infant rapes made up a very small portion of reported child rapes. A 2001 study on child rape survivors, published in the South African Medical Journal, found a 1 percent seroconvergence rate, despite the lack of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) - antiretroviral (ARV) treatment administered to victims to decrease their chances of acquiring the HI virus after assaults - in most cases.

    She has used this to argue that the virgin myth is not a prevalent cause of rape; if it were, seroconvergence would be much higher.

    Economically driven

    Maxwell Matewere, a child rights activist working in Malawi, said many of the abused girls he saw came from poor families, some of whom encouraged their daughters to seek out older men as a way of providing an income.

    Matewere's organisation, Eye of the Child, reported a 43-year-old man who was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl. The relationship started with a cell phone, he said, and it took a teacher to report it.

    At a nearby halfway house for abused children in Blantyre, Malawi's commercial capital, child rights activist Marcel Chisi has just released six children back into the care of their parents. Most of the children he sees come from broken homes where parents work away from home, often for days at a time.

    "There are cases where parents leave children, some as young as eight, on their own to fend for themselves," he said. "This creates room for abusive people to come in."

    Relevant Links
    Children and Youth
    Crime and Corruption
    Human Rights

    In Lusaka, capital of Zambia, it was the death of 9-year-old Elizabeth's* parents that put her at risk. Forced to stay with her uncle, she endured four years of abuse in silence, afraid he would fulfil his threat to kill her or throw her out on the streets if she told anyone.

    Now 21 years old, with a design career in Lusaka, Elizabeth struggles to maintain relationships with men or talk about her experiences. "Whenever I remember it, I feel the same pain I felt then."

    In Zimbabwe, the problem of absentee parents has been taken to another level as the crumbling economy forces many to leave the country in search of opportunities in neighbouring countries, compounding the effects of HIV/AIDS on the country's children.

    Southern Africa: Trying to Understand the Unspeakable Crime

    (Page 2 of 2)

    "In such an environment of economic hardships, where children are left in the care of friends and relatives after parents go to the diaspora in search of better opportunities, children are left at the mercy of abusers," said Idine Magonga, national director of the country's Victim Friendly Court, which was established after it was found many children were too scared to face abusers in court, leading to acquittals in their cases.

    "A new trend that has emerged is that in a majority of cases children are not being sexually abused by strangers but by people known to them, such as relatives and family friends."

    According to Jewkes, poverty does more than just take parents out of the house; it changes the way children - like those in Chisi's care - are viewed by society.

    "It's more likely that a poorer child will get raped than a wealthier child," she said. "There are men to whom poorer children may assume a lower social status, and they may think there are less likely to be consequences when raping a poor child."

    Childline's van Niekerk said the families of children like these may not report rapes, opting instead to accept payment or "damages", as it is sometimes referred to, from the perpetrator.

    It's more likely that a poorer child will get raped than a wealthier child

    "(Child abuse) is a complex problem and it has multiple roots," she said. "It's rooted in our history of violence in the country [South Africa] that hasn't been dealt with, and it's rooted in many factors in the present."

    The region responds?

    Faced with rising figures on the crime, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa and Zambia have all made efforts to establish child-friendly courts for abused children.

    South Africa recently adopted its new Sexual Offences Act, extending the definition of rape and imposing harsher jail sentences for acts such as anal rape, and allowing survivors to demand perpetrators take mandatory HIV tests.

    Namibia's Combating of Rape Act became law in 2000, ensuring that survivors or their guardians were informed of the trial date and - perhaps just as importantly - of bail applications that might lead to the perpetrator's release.

    In Malawi, rape can be punishable by at least 14 years imprisonment with hard labour, and sometimes even a life sentence. However, in South Africa tougher sentencing has meant little, as principle is often a far cry from practice.

    "There are massive challenges in the justice system, and laws are not going to solve these challenges," Jewkes said. She alleged that judges continued to doll out lenient sentences in cases of sexual violence against children - a crime they saw as not particularly serious - and dismissive attitudes like these filtered down.

    "Reporting procedures are not working," Childline's van Niekerk said. "We are still coming across children turned away from reporting at police stations, and this means the child's health needs are not being not attended to."

    It may also mean children are not getting access to PEP in public hospitals. Van Niekerk said the country was administering PEP without specific child guidelines, which had still not been approved by the health department. The health department was unavailable for comment.

    In Swaziland, Save the Children, Interpol, and the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) have partnered in training the police to take statements, open dockets and collect evidence that would lead to convictions in a sensitive manner. But SWAGAA director Nonhlanhla Dlamini said it was an uphill battle, as the specially trained police were soon transferred to other departments.

    In Malawi, where there is no such training arrangements for councillors, the survivors - and perpetrators - of child sexual abuse have little to turn to in the way of emotional support.

    Relevant Links
    Children and Youth
    Crime and Corruption
    Human Rights

    Van Niekerk said more than 50 percent of perpetrators she saw in South Africa were children themselves, who, if sent uncounselled into the adult criminal justice system, were only too likely to become victims themselves.

    As the region struggles to cope with what many say are rising levels of this kind of child abuse, there is a need to focus not only on laws but also on treatment, counselling and protection of the children involved in these crimes, she said. "All of these do cost money, but it's an investment in our future."

  • LouBelle

    Anyone who doesn't LIVE here won't know the experiences people go through, because they haven't been touched by it personally

    Just yesturday a friends friend stopped at a gas station, and was shot fortunately he survived. The reality of South Africa is that there is a significance increase in violence crime and corruption.

    I was at a quartily AMPS / ABC meeting that discuss Social Economic trends in South Africa - Violent crime & other crime has increase astronomically over the last 15 years.

    This was a whether or not we should immigrate. If things in the States got to an all time low, where you are afraid to travel (I'm talking every day life travelling not the safe safaris/tours kind of travel)

    Coming on holiday here is extremely different to living here.

  • Princess Daisy Boo
    Princess Daisy Boo

    Wow - I did not think that my lil ol post about considering immigration would turn into a 3 page arument on racism, history and whether Africa is a good or bad place to live!

    The only other country I have been to in Africa is Botswana, and things there, although a little slow, seemed quite good! I dont know about the reast of the continent - Africa is a huge continent and African Politics are not an interest of mine. So therefore, what goes on in other countries apart from what I hear and read in the news, I do not know.

    Thsi was not a post about immigrating to my ancestral home - as I said previously, my family have lived here as far back as I can trace and I do not consider myself to be anything other than a South African. The only reason why the ancestral visa was mentioned was because my late FIL was Irish.

    I really do wish that this had not turned into a thread about Racism - I take exception to that!

    Basically what Quandry has said summarised my view:

    Actually, the issue is Daisy Boo's family. If she feels that the place she lives is not safe, then it is definetely time to move. Staying to make some sort of statement can be very dangerous.

    I live in the Houston Texas area. There are some areas of town that I would not go to at any time of the day or night, no matter how much of a "statement" I wanted to make. It would be foolhardy.

    I have not been to South Africa. But I do know this. Criminals of any color do not care what your politics are. They just want what you have.

    Especially if there are children involved, it becomes imperative to give them a safe future, wherever you feel you must go.

    And I also agree with SammieLee:

    Tangible experiences might presume to be more of an allowance for opinion, however, there is always the very real possibility that if a person voices those experiences in any way not compatible with the thought process of the listener - that they will then be accused of having some motive behind it - perhaps hatred or racism.

    In the words of Flipper:


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