French Government Investigates Military For Alleged Child Abuse, The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring

May 5, 2015 Comments Off on French Government Investigates Military For Alleged Child Abuse, The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring

French Government Investigates Military For Alleged Child Abuse
May 01, 2015 Eleanor Beardsley

The French government has promised a full investigation into allegations that its soldiers sexually abused local children while serving on a peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:When Lara fell victim to the notorious Oxford child sex ring, her mother tried everything to save her. Now, the two tell Nick Harding how they’re trying to put the past behind them

The French government is investigating allegations that its soldiers abused children while serving as peacekeepers in Africa last year. The case has caused outrage and revulsion in France which places high value on both its military and its relations with its former colonies. The incidents in the Central African Republic were revealed when a United Nations report was leaked this week. NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley has the story.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: The U.N. report gives detailed descriptions of how children were coerced or forced into sexual acts by some of the French soldiers sent to protect them. Some of the victims was young as 9. Many were orphaned boys. The report became public this week when it was leaked to aid groups who gave it to the press….

BEARDSLEY: The U.N. has launched its own investigation into the leaking of its human rights report about the abuse. The French government is still investigating reports of sexual abuse by its soldiers in Rwanda 21 years ago. General Dominique Trinquand is a former commander of French peacekeeping missions.
http://www.npr.org/2015/05/01/403597693/french-government-investigates-military-for-alleged-child-abuse

The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring

When Lara fell victim to the notorious Oxford child sex ring, her mother tried everything to save her. Now, the two tell Nick Harding how they’re trying to put the past behind them
Nick Harding
Monday 04 May 2015

….Lara was a victim of an infamous child sex trafficking ring based in Oxford. In 2013, seven members were jailed for a total of 95 years. She was one of six brave girls who gave evidence against their abusers. She was groomed from the age of 12 and for five years endured unimaginable physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Elizabeth frantically tried to save her and raise the authorities from an apathetic slumber, the type of which allowed similar gangs in Rochdale, Rotherham and other parts of the country to exploit young, vulnerable girls with impunity.

Lara was born to alcoholic parents. Her mother was a drug addict and a prostitute, her father was a sadistic alcoholic. Along with her four siblings, she was taken into care aged four. For the following six years, she tumbled through the care system, where she was sexually abused. Elizabeth adopted her when she was 10 and already deeply disturbed.

….As she progressed to secondary school, her behaviour worsened. She stayed out late, ran away from home and became violent. But instead of getting support and understanding, she was excluded from school. Elizabeth tried to get help and advice from Oxford social services.

“They refused and said it was not their problem as Lara did not come from Oxford,” she explains. “I was saying very early on that I felt she needed therapeutic support to process what had happened to her. But social services didn’t entertain it and felt she was just badly behaved. I was told she was a young person making choices, and although she was making the wrong sort of choices, she should be supported to make those choices regardless.”

At 12, Lara came to the attention of a local drug dealer, Mohammed Karrar. He ran a crack den in a run-down part of Oxford. Manipulative and well versed in child grooming, he befriended Lara and she began to spend increasing amounts of time with him and his associates in the Cowley Road area of the city.

….Karrar gave his victim with alcopops and cigarettes and encouraged her to run away from home. Eventually, he encouraged her to take crack cocaine and began feeding her drugs. Soon after, he forced her to have sex with two men, demanding the act as payment for the drugs he had plied her with. He continued to feed her addiction, sold her to men around the country, beat her and threatened her and her family if she didn’t do as he commanded.

In one incident when she was 14, Lara was imprisoned for eight hours in a guest house on a main road in Oxford and violently raped by Karrar’s brother Bassam. Police were called by another guest, who heard her screams through the walls. Despite having witnesses and DNA evidence, it was decided not to pursue a prosecution when Lara declined to  testify after being coerced by the gang.

….Girl for Sale’ by Lara McDonnell (£6.99, Ebury Press) is out now
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/the-mother-who-never-gave-up-on-her-child-abused-by-the-oxford-child-sex-ring-10224225.html

Military Sexual Assault Epidemic Continues To Claim Victims As Defense Department Fails Females

October 7, 2012 Comments Off on Military Sexual Assault Epidemic Continues To Claim Victims As Defense Department Fails Females

Military Sexual Assault Epidemic Continues To Claim Victims As Defense Department Fails Females
Molly O’Toole 10/06/2012

….Active-duty female personnel make up roughly 14.5 percent — or 207,308 members — of the more than 1.4 million Armed Forces, according to the Department of Defense.

One in three military women has been sexually assaulted, compared to one in six civilian women, according to Defense. According to calculations by The Huffington Post, a servicewoman was nearly 180 times more likely to have become a victim of military sexual assault (MSA) in the past year than to have died while deployed during the last 11 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the most recent report by the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, 3,192 sexual assaults were reported out of an estimated 19,000 — roughly 52 a day — between Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 31, 2011. The department estimates that only roughly 14 percent of the assaults were reported. The majority of sexual assaults each year are committed against service members by service members, SAPRO reports. While MSA does not affect only women, the office characterizes the “vast majority” of victims as female junior enlists under the age of 25, and the “vast majority” of perpetrators as male, older (under the age of 35) and generally higher-ranking.

….The Department also counts as a small victory the increased use of courts-martial charges over the past five years and less reliance on nonjudicial punishments. But this increase only represents the courts martial charges that were initiated. By the end of FY2011, only 240 of the original 3,192 reported crimes had made it to trial. Just under 6 percent of the total reports resulted in a conviction by courts martial. According to SAPRO’s latest report, “most” of the people convicted in FY2011 were reduced in rank or placed into confinement, but fines were more common than discharges. But the punitive measures the military is handing down may not mitigate the risks: Repeat offenders, according to the report, commit 90 percent of all assaults.

The now-benighted concept of “don’t ask, don’t tell” still holds true in the case of military sexual assault: Due to a climate of impunity and retaliation, many survivors suffer in silence.

Panetta’s refrain for years has been heartening: “One sexual assault is too many.”

To which Havrilla responds, “This whole concept of ‘zero tolerance,’ it’s just words and no action.”

“You can’t leave. You can’t quit. You can’t walk away.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/military-sexual-assault-defense-department_n_1834196.html

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