Thousands of children are victims of sexual assault or physical violence each year in Algeria. Hundreds of recorded cases that go back to justice, but which hide much more maddening figures, when we know that for most cases minors do not dare to denounce the horror of which they are victims.
The only data published and made available to the public are those of the DGSN which lists for the year 2020, 5067 cases including 2257 cases of intentional assault and 165 others of mistreatment. For this year of 2021, it is “2,453 children victims of different forms of violence, including 1,035 cases of intentional blows and injuries”. On the other hand, no official figures are published for cases of sexual abuse of minors.
According to the daily The evening of Algeria “no less than 13 rapes of minors, 84 acts of deliberate violence and 9 cases of ill-treatment of young children” were recorded in the wilaya of Mila. Figures that are chilling for such a conservative wilaya, have customs changed to the point of trivializing this kind of action?
A society plunged into silence: complicit in this violence
A law of silence which is essential and which reigns in a conservative society where sexuality and violence are taboo subjects not to be mentioned. A silence which frightens and which makes it possible to silence all these crimes perpetuated against defenseless minors. The Algerians wallow in silence and become unwitting accomplices in these crimes.
The lack of sex education in the country may explain this “culture of rape” in Algeria. In fact, sexuality and violence are only very rarely discussed in society or at school. No prevention is done at this level. Ignorance and the lack of information available to children favor this kind of situation.
The few victims who dare to break the taboo and who dare to denounce suffer very negative feedback from relatives. Families prefer to stifle this kind of story so as not to disturb family stability. The entourage tries to console the victim by protecting the executioner, who is very often a respected relative of the family. To denounce is to dare to confront everyone, it is to dare to shout what society is trying to hide at all costs. It is therefore not surprising that in most cases, cases of violence and sexual abuse of minors never reach the courts.
Youth left to themselves
Faced with all this, it is thousands of minors who repress the nightmare they experience on a daily basis. It is a real fear that drives the hearts of these little victims of human perversity. Children face violence and sexual touching on the street in schools, but also in families.
How can a 5-year-old child accuse his example, this adult who should be synonymous with “his safety” as a minor? How to howl his pain and tell what he is subjected to in the dark corners of the house and the school?
The children therefore face an absent system and non-existent help. Associations try to provide assistance in this type of case and try to get things moving. Heavy penalties for the culprits and compulsory psychological follow-up should be granted to the victims in order to avoid trauma with very serious consequences.
We all recall the same toll-free number 11-11 set up by the ONPPE, which allows anyone who has witnessed or suffered a violation of the rights of the child to denounce these acts. Protecting children is everyone’s duty.