Tales of a child bride: ‘My father sold me,’ Ex-members of Twelve Tribes

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.

Cash cows

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….
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/17/twelve-tribes-the-church-preached-child-abuse-slavery.html

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Rise in ritual child abuse cases linked to WITCHCRAFT reported to police, Where Are the Victims of Human Trafficking Taken?, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Child Sex Abuse Cases Bring Religion’s Practices Into Question

October 10, 2014 Comments Off on Rise in ritual child abuse cases linked to WITCHCRAFT reported to police, Where Are the Victims of Human Trafficking Taken?, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Child Sex Abuse Cases Bring Religion’s Practices Into Question

– Shocking rise in ritual child abuse cases linked to WITCHCRAFT reported to police
– Rwanda: Where Are the Victims of Human Trafficking Taken?
– Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Child Sex Abuse Cases Bring Religion’s Practices Into Question

Shocking rise in ritual child abuse cases linked to WITCHCRAFT reported to police
MORE cases of ritual child abuse related to the belief in witchcraft are being reported to police.
By: Jane Mathews
Published: Wed, October 8, 2014

Scotland Yard has received 27 allegations in the past year, including two claims of rape, a report of a child being swung around and hit on the head “to drive out the devil”, and other youngsters being dunked in water.

A number of horrific child killings have been linked to these beliefs, including the murder of Kristy Bamu, 15, who was tortured and drowned by his sister and her boyfriend in 2010, and the death of Victoria Climbie.

The number of cases ritualistic or faith-based abuse of children reported to Scotland Yard has increased year-on-year over the past decade.

A total of 24 were passed to the force in 2013, compared with 19 in 2012 and just nine in 2011.

Since 2004, 148 such cases have been referred to the Met….
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/519929/Child-abuse-witchcraft-rise-police-reported

Rwanda: Where Are the Victims of Human Trafficking Taken?
9 October 2014

By Athan Tashobya

Most victims of human trafficking in the country are taken into forced marriage, labour and prostitution, Police said yesterday.

Speaking at a news briefing, ACP Tony Kuramba, the deputy commissioner of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and director of Interpol-Rwanda, said the majority of the victims were taken to Uganda and Asia.

“In most cases, these victims of human trafficking are taken for forced marriage, prostitution and forced labour, we have heard cases in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Dubai, and we are following them closely,” Kuramba said during a media briefing on the forthcoming national dialogue on human trafficking at Parliament Buildings yesterday.

The dialogue, at which First Lady Jeannette Kagame is expected to officiate, is slated for tomorrow in Kigali.

Kuramba said 153 cases of human trafficking were registered since 2009, with some of them involving traffickers who use Rwanda as a transit route for victims heading to other countries….
http://allafrica.com/stories/201410090843.html

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Child Sex Abuse Cases Bring Religion’s Practices Into Question
By Sami K. Martin , Christian Post Reporter
October 8, 2014
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have a silent epidemic of child abuse that was recently brought to public attention again after four alleged victims filed lawsuits against the organization.

There are over 7 million Jehovah’s Witnesses across the globe, according to the group’s website. However, there have been numerous accusations and cases brought against elders and leaders of the organization, alleging child abuse of both young men and women, dating back at least 30 years. Four reported victims brought a lawsuit against the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Organization in Connecticut….

One particular case in 2012 saw Candace Conti, a victim, receive awarded $28 million in damages after alleging that member Jonathan Kendrick molested her from 1995-1996. The case was filed in Oakley, California and the $28 million award was the largest paid to a single victim….

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have plenty of information on their website about how to keep children safe from predators, but take a unique approach to dealing with cases of accused abuse. When an allegation against a member or elder is made, the organization follows a “two-witness rule,” which requires that there be two victims made. They claim that they follow Biblical principles when it comes to the rule and cite Scripture such as 1 Timothy 5:19 and Deuteronomy 19:15, which speak of having two persons come forward when making an accusation….
http://www.christianpost.com/news/jehovahs-witnesses-child-sex-abuse-cases-bring-religions-practices-into-question-127738/

FGM affects 137,000 women in England and Wales, reveals shocking new study

July 31, 2014 Comments Off on FGM affects 137,000 women in England and Wales, reveals shocking new study

FGM affects 137,000 women in England and Wales, reveals shocking new study
A new study – published today, ahead of the UK’s first Girl Summit – shows a significant increase in the number of girls and women undergoing female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Radhika Sanghani reports   By Radhika Sanghani  22 Jul 2014

The number of women living in the UK who have experienced female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) has risen dramatically, a new report suggests. It shows that the practice has been carried out on 137,000 women and girls living in England and Wales.  The City University London and Equality Now study comes as the Prime Minister today hosts the UK’s first ever Girl Summit, which aims to end FGM/C and forced marriage.
It shows that there are around 103,00 FGM/C survivors aged 15-49 in the UK, 24,000 women aged 50 and over, and 10,000 young girls aged under 15. These women and girls are thought to have migrated from countries where the practice of cutting girls’ genitalia – illegal in the UK – is carried out in the name of culture, tradition and religion….  More than 700 million women alive today were married as children, according to UNICEF, and more than 250 million of these before the age of 15….
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/10980268/FGM-affects-137000-women-in-England-and-Wales-reveals-shocking-new-study.html

Britain has looked the other way for too long over FGM
The fear of offending culture and tradition is preventing us from treating FGM for what it is – appalling sexual abuse
By Emily Dyer  30 Jul 2014

The Prime Minister’s Girl Summit showed that the Government is slowly waking up to the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). Yet this encouraging step forward stands in the shadow of a much larger question: how is it that our fear of offending “culture” has allowed 137,000 girls living in England and Wales to have their genitals cut off? These hundreds of thousands of girls living in Britain – whose quality of life has been sacrificed to an ancient ritual of sexual control – deserve a clear answer.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11000437/Britain-has-looked-the-other-way-for-too-long-over-FGM.html

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