Experts warn of more sex abuse victims
Manama, February 9, 2014
Psychologists have warned more victims are likely to come forward in a horrific case of child sex abuse in Bahrain.
They suspect a 43-year-old Bahraini father, who has been arrested for sexually assaulting his four daughters, has also molested his six sons, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The children's Bahraini mother is filing for divorce and her daughters are seeking counselling at the Batelco Care Centre for Family Violence Cases.
The centre has lodged a complaint on behalf of the family at the Public Prosecution, which has remanded the father in police custody pending investigations.
It has also called for the father to receive a life sentence for the abuse, which it dubbed as the most "disturbing" case it has received.
It is understood the man had sexually assaulted his children for more than 10 years and used arousal creams on them.
"This has to be one of the most disturbing cases we have received because of its nature," said psychotherapist and counsellor Dr Sharifa Swar.
"These four girls have gone through the worst times as their own father abused them for years."
Dr Swar told the GDN it took psychologists months to find out about the abuse from one of the girls, 14, after she was taken to the centre by her mother for depression.
The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, first sought help for domestic problems when she attended an anti-violence workshop last year.
"The mother wanted to talk but had fears of social stigma," said Dr Swar.
"Her daughter told me how her own father used weird creams to enhance his sexual activity as he tried to find ways to have them alone in the house.
"The eldest daughter, who is handicapped, said she was sexually abused by him as he often called her to his room on the pretext of getting a glass of water.
"The girls later even stopped going near his room or even bringing him a glass of water."
However, Dr Swar has raised concerns that the man's six sons could have also suffered at the hands of their father.
"We suspect the father abused not only his daughters but also his sons, but we need to verify this by talking to them," she said.
Dr Swar will submit a request to prosecutors today to speak to the sons to find out if they have been abused as well.
She said the mother plans to file for full custody of the couple's 10 children.
She said child abusers should receive no less than life sentences to send a strong message to society.
"Despite all the awareness and several anti-violence centres set up in Bahrain, the fear of society and social stigma stops families from reporting sexual abuse or violence cases," she added.
"They want to save the family status as the abuser continues to prey on the victims."
The GDN reported last year that the centre registered a case of a civil servant who viciously assaulted his ex-wife and four children to an extent that they could have died.
The ex-husband allegedly beat the woman so badly that he broke her ribs and then hit their 17-year-old daughter with a chair as she tried to protect her mother. It is understood prosecutors are still investigating the case. - TradeArabia News Service