Turkey should reject child abuse law shielding men who marry from punishment: U.N., Turkey child rape protests, Growing up with The Family “sinister cult”
November 22, 2016 Comments Off on Turkey should reject child abuse law shielding men who marry from punishment: U.N., Turkey child rape protests, Growing up with The Family “sinister cult”
– Turkey should reject child abuse law shielding men who marry from punishment: U.N.
– Turkey child rape protests: Thousands take to streets against law that would let men off if they marry victim
– Growing up with The Family: inside Anne Hamilton-Byrne’s sinister cult
Turkey should reject child abuse law shielding men who marry from punishment: U.N.
By Umberto Bacchi Mon Nov 21, 2016
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A bill that could allow men accused of sexually abusing girls in Turkey to avoid punishment if they marry their victim would create a climate of impunity for child abuse in the country, U.N. agencies warned on Monday.
The Turkish parliament gave preliminary backing to the controversial proposal put forward by the ruling AK Party last week.
MPs are due resume the debate on Tuesday before a second and final vote.
Several U.N. agencies criticized the legislation, which they said was akin to an amnesty for child abusers and could expose victims to further suffering at the hands of their abusers.
“Any forms of sexual violence against children are crimes which should be punished as such,” the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, U.N. Women and the U.N. Development Programme in Turkey said in a joint statement on Monday.
“We call on all Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly to do their utmost in ensuring that all girls and boys in Turkey are better protected from all forms of sexual abuse.”…
Turkey child rape protests: Thousands take to streets against law that would let men off if they marry victim
‘We will not shut up. We will not obey. Withdraw the bill immediately,’ chant protesters
Harriet Agerholm Sunday 20 November 2016
Thousands have taken to the streets of Istanbul and other cities in Turkey to protest against a bill that would allow child rapists to walk free if they marry their victims.
The country’s government insists the law would help resolve legal challenges caused by widespread child marriage in the country, yet critics argue the bill legitimises rape.
In Istanbul, protesters clapped and chanted: “We will not shut up. We will not obey. Withdraw the bill immediately.”
About 3,000 people gathered in Istanbul’s Kadikoy square, many waving placards that said: “Rape cannot be legitimised,” and “AKP, take your hands off my body” – in reference to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that proposed the bill.
Similar demonstrations were held in other cities, including Ankara, Izmir and Trabzon.
If the law passes, men who sexually abuse girls under 18 without “force, threat or any restriction on consent” and marry them could have their convictions quashed or avoid prosecution….
The proposed change would apply to cases between 2005 and 16 November 2016.
Growing up with The Family: inside Anne Hamilton-Byrne’s sinister cult
Cruel and charismatic, Anne Hamilton-Byrne was the Australian leader of a doomsday cult who thought she was the Messiah. Abigail Haworth on the woman behind The Family
Abigail Haworth Sunday 20 November 2016
Anne Hamilton-Byrne…leader of The Family, the Australian doomsday cult she founded in the 1960s, she claimed to be Jesus reborn as a woman.
….One of the few female cult leaders in history – and apparently one of the cruellest – Hamilton-Byrne operated in almost total secrecy over two decades. Hidden away in the countryside outside Melbourne, The Family’s motto was “Unseen, unknown, unheard”. The police, acting on information from two child escapees, raided the cult in 1987. It emerged that over the years Hamilton-Byrne had collected 28 children through bogus adoptions and “gifts” from followers, dressing them in identical clothes and bleaching their hair platinum. To keep her eerie brood under her control, they say she subjected them to vicious beatings, starvation and emotional torture.
“Anne wasn’t giving love,” says Parker, whose young son was one of Hamilton-Byrne’s victims. “She was offering it and then taking it back. She broke people’s spirit.”
The glamorous guru used the same tactic on her adult followers, handpicking them from Melbourne’s wealthy professional elite with promises of spiritual fulfilment in the 1960s and 70s when new age seeking was all the rage. “I’ve been waiting for you,” she’d say on first meeting a potential recruit. “You are special
Preaching a mishmash of Christianity, eastern mysticism and apocalyptic prophecy, she allegedly forced followers, including children, to take dangerous amounts of LSD and other hallucinogenics as part of prolonged initiation rites. Once they had submitted, she’d dictate every aspect of their lives. “There was only one rule: do absolutely everything she said,” says David Whitaker, a former child survivor. “That included what to think, what to wear, what to eat, who to marry, who not to marry. Total obedience.”
The children were initiated with ‘huge, relentless doses of LSD’ in trips that lasted for days…
By the time of the police raid, Hamilton-Byrne had broken up families, destroyed marriages and left her child victims with lifelong psychological scars. A number of followers tried to kill themselves, either during their time in The Family or after they escaped. Tragically, some succeeded. The cult leader amassed an estimated AU$150m (£90m) through property, land and cash donated by followers. She hid overseas and was eventually arrested in 1993 on relatively minor fraud charges….
July 19, 2016 Comments Off on Tales of a child bride: ‘My father sold me,’ Ex-members of Twelve Tribes
Tales of a child bride: ‘My father sold me for 12 cows’
When she was 12, Grace was abducted and then raped and beaten every day for 11 months.
Features Human Rights 12 July 2016 By Marc Ellison
So common are the practices of abduction, rape and forced marriage of girls in northern Tanzania that a single word is used to encapsulate them all: kupura. It is a word used by people from the Sukuma tribe to describe the snatching of girls in broad daylight as they walk to school; a three-syllabled euphemism that downplays their long-term physical and sexual abuse.
And yet here in the region of Shinyanga, the practice of kupura is validated by the oft-recited motto of Sukuma men: alcohol, meat and vagina.
“This slogan is in their blood and a way of life,” says Revocatus Itendelebanya. “These are the three things they feel entitled to as men.”
Itendelebanya, the legal and gender officer for the local NGO, Agape, says this sense of entitlement, in what is a perennially patriarchal society, also explains why passers-by don’t intervene when they witness an abduction.
“When a Sukuma man is attracted to a girl he will start asking people where she lives, and what her routine is,” explains Itendelebanya.
“Once he finds out these details he might wait for her near the borehole – or whatever he thinks is the best place to get that girl – and then grab her.”
Kupura is so prevalent in the region that when a girl disappears, her parents will suspect what has happened. But rather than calling the police, they will seek the man out not to rescue their child, but to negotiate the dowry – or bride price – in cattle.
For daughters are sadly seen as a short-term investment for poor, rural households – cash cows that can boost a family’s financial position at the expense of a girl’s schooling and wellbeing….
When it comes to child marriage, Tanzania was until very recently a country of contradictions.
The 1971 Marriage Act set the minimum age of marriage for girls at 15 with parental consent – but a girl of 14 could wed where judicial approval was given.
And while the 2009 Child Act did not expressly outlaw child marriage, it did define a child as a person under the age of 18, stating that a parent should “protect the child from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse, exposure to physical and moral hazards and oppression”.
This contradictory legal Venn diagram was further obfuscated by the Local Customary Law of 1963, which allowed Tanzania’s many ethnic groups to adhere to their customs and traditions.
The Tanzanian government had long made noises about a constitutional review process to address these conflicting laws, but last year’s presidential election campaign, in addition to a lack of consensus in community surveys, had served to stall any political momentum on the issue.
Only in July 2016 did the government finally ban child marriage outright – but will it actually make a difference?
Female genital mutilation was outlawed in Tanzania in 1998, and yet a 2010 government survey found that in remote parts of the Mara region, more than 40 percent of girls and women had been cut…. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/07/tales-child-bride-father-sold-12-cows-160711100933281.html
Twelve Tribes: The Church Preached Child Abuse & Slavery
According to ex-members of Twelve Tribes who spoke to The Daily Beast, children are regularly beaten and leaders preached “slavery is necessary.” Now, an escapee has taken over the Facebook page of the Plymouth bakery run by the commune so he can broadcast its ills.
Luke O’Neil 7.17.16
….It’s been almost eight years since Mathias, now 22, left the Twelve Tribes, the controversial commune and religious sect he was born into, but the memories, and the anger at the way he and his family were allegedly treated is still fresh. He says he—and other members of the sect—were regularly beaten by adults in the commune as a form of discipline.
….The half-dozen former members who spoke to The Daily Beast also allege a culture of systematic child abuse, subjugation of women, and psychological torment.
A couple of years ago, a German documentary uncovered video of children in a local branch being beaten so terribly that the government led a raid and took the children away. In the video, Wolfram Kuhnigk, an RTL journalist, filmed 50 instances of beatings on camera, as the Independent reported. One former member who appears in the film recounts being regularly beaten for such trivial offenses as pretending to be an airplane. According to the group’s teachings, children are not permitted to engage in any type of playing or fantasy.
It’s a pattern of controversial behavior that has persisted in stories about the group for decades. “There are so many teachings that keep you from being who you are. They keep you from being human,” a former member named Joellen Griffin told the Boston Herald in 2001. “You get so absorbed in the teachings that you lose your emotions and your ability to respond to situations. They seem like a tight-knit family, but you just don’t know all the misery behind those eyeballs.”
In 1984, authorities in Vermont undertook a similar raid, liberating over 100 children from a Twelve Tribes compound, according to The New York Times. A judge determined that the raid was unconstitutional and the children were returned. Interestingly, as the San Diego Reader reported, the public defender at the time, Jean Swantko, joined the group soon after.
An investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald in 2013 told similar stories of members who had escaped the group, as did an investigation last year by Pacific Standard, which reported that children were allegedly beaten multiple times per day. In 2001 the New York Post launched an investigation that resulted in some of the group’s New York businesses being cited for violating child labor laws….