I would like to respond to the letter 'Incidence of facts and objectivity', written
by Touch Bunnil (Post October 8) in response to the article "Law enforcement
strives for better forensics" (Post September 24).
Calculating the incidence of sexual abuse by adults of children in any country is
notoriously difficult, even for international organizations. Who to ask? Going to
source and asking children themselves, even with reassurances of confidentiality,
may not reveal the full extent of the problem, due to fear of consequences.
Tearfund, on behalf of the Child Welfare Group, has attempted to find out through
a national survey of school children aged 12 to 15 years. They found that 13.5 percent
of females and 18.9 percent of boys said they had been sexually touched on the genitals
by an adult after 9 years old.
Statistics may help to lobby Governments and NGOs into action but when there is clear
evidence it is occurring, at what percentage, for example, should activities be scaled
up to address the problem: 10 percent? 30 percent? 50 percent? In which case, how
useful are statistics? LICADHO simply report on the very real incidence of child
rape and abuse they see every day.
Perhaps a more useful comparison between New York and Cambodia would be the services
available; What are the legal, social and medical services for victims of child rape
and funding for prevention and rehabilitation activities?
Glenn Miles - Children at Risk facilitator, Tearfund, Phnom Penh