World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse
A call for action to
stop sexual violence
Media Release Sunday 19 November 2006 – World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse
Widespread sexual violence against children a global indictment upon millions of men
Convictions of a Porirua step-father for the seven-year sexual abuse of a step-daughter and of a US soldier for his part in the gang rape of a 14-year old Iraqi girl before her murder, are but two of millions of cases of sexual violence against children that fall on the eve of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.
Stop Demand Foundation, a New Zealand group calling for global action to stop sexual violence against children, says that the extent of global sexual violence against children year after year is an utter indictment upon millions of men worldwide. Stop Demand founder Denise Ritchie says that “sexual violence against children within the home, communities, institutions, refugee camps and armed conflict; through child prostitution, child pornography and various cultural practices and beliefs, is nothing short of a indictment on the millions of men who misuse their penis out of a sense of male entitlement, power, domination and selfishness, often causing profound short and long-term detriment to the physical and mental health of their victims”.
The United Nations Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children released last month and due to be launched in Geneva on Monday (20 November) estimates that some 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 have experienced forced sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual violence.
Sexual violence against children in New Zealand is equally damning. Ministry of Justice statistics for 2005 reveal that 75% of all sex crime convictions (1373 of 1823) concerned victims aged 16 and younger. Between 1992 and 2005, 45% of all sex crime convictions (12,417 of 27,837) related to child victims aged 11 years and younger. A four-year review period of child sex convictions showed 99.1% of offenders to be male.
While recent media attention has focused on physical violence against children in this country, to date the unacceptable level of sexual violence against children continues to be hidden and ignored.
Stop Demand believes that until attitudes that support sexually exploitative male behaviour whether against children or women receives the strongest condemnation by otherwise decent men within our communities, sexual violence perpetrated by men will continue to be one of the most insidious and harmful blights on our global society.