An epidemic of sexual violence against women and girls continues in Comoros
Silvia Alonso Vega
September 12th, 2021
The US Department of State’s Human Rights report on Comoros highlights the lack of investigation and accountability for crimes related to violence against women. Under Comorian law, the crime of rape is punishable by 5-10 years of imprisonment or up to 15 years if the victim is under the age of 15. Authorities, however, rarely enforce the law unless victims file charges against the perpetrator. Reports show that allegations of sexual violence against women and girls in villages are often settled through traditional means and without the involvement of the formal court system. Families of victims are dissuaded from reporting such crimes due to the risk of facing repercussions, such as eviction from the village for pressing charges against the perpetrator .
The latest victim of the epidemic of violence against women and girls in Comoros is a young Malagasy. The girl was only 13 years old when she was forcefully taken to Nyumamilima ya Mbwankuu, Grande Comore by a man in his fifties. Once in Comoros, the girl had to undergo three caesarean sections in the span of four years due to the man’s continuous rapes and mistreatment. The chief of Nyumamilima ya Mbwankuu has admitted that residents of the village were aware that the man was keeping the girl prisoner. He claims nobody intervened out of fear of retaliation, as the man was a retired French army worker with a weapon. An investigation on the case has now been opened .
Comoros 2020 Human Rights Report. (2021). United States Department of State. https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/COMOROS-2020-HUMAN-RIGHTS-REPORT.pdf
Natidja, A. S. (2021, September 11). Violence basée sur le genre I Séquestrée, une jeune fille a vécu un véritable calvaire. Al-watwan. https://alwatwan.net/societe/violence-bas%C3%A9e-sur-le-genre-i-s%C3%A9questr%C3%A9e,-une-jeune-fille-a-v%C3%A9cu-un-v%C3%A9ritable-calvaire.html