Of the 68 cases of rape reported, vicitms of 46 were minors
Punakha police has detained a 59-year-old man after he was accused of raping his daughter on December 14 last year. The victim was aged six when her father started sexually abusing her. The incident happened after her mother left the child and her younger sister.
It was reported that the father tried to rape the younger daughter too but his attempt failed. However, it was revealed that he had molested her. The case was brought to the notice of the police on December 13. All this while, the elder daughter kept quiet out of fear and shame. With no one to look after the they are now under the protection of National Commission for Women and Children.
The victims are studying in classes VI and III respectively in a school in Punakha. The suspect has been charged for incest, child molestation and statutory rape. The case has been forwarded to Office of Attorney General.
In another incident, a six-year-old girl was raped by her step-father in their house in Punakha during the absence of the mother a few weeks back. The incident was reported to the police by the victim’s grandmother after she saw her granddaughter bleeding. The suspect is a former police personnel.
Records with Royal Bhutan Police show 68 reported cases of rape in 2016: the highest being rape of a child above 12 years with 39 cases followed by 22 cases of rape above age 18 and seven cases of rape of a child below 12 years.
From January to July 31 this year, 22 cases of rape were reported of which 12 cases of rape were above age 18, nine cases were rape of a child below 18 years and one case of rape was of a child below age 12.
Colonel Dorji Wangchuk said that earlier, in the absence of the Penal Code of Bhutan, there were no reported cases of rape since there was no law to charge the perpetuators.
“Child marriage was acceptable and not an offence. Though it was a crime in other parts of the world, it was not a crime in Bhutan,” he said, “However after the introduction of the Penal Code of Bhutan there are strong laws against the crime.”
Colonel Dorji Wangchuk mentioned that suspects are taking advantage of the fact that young victims are not forthcoming. “Parents should be responsible to inform the authorities concerned,” he said.
Under Chapter 14 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, sexual offences have been categorized into rape, criminal attempt rape, rape of a married person, statutory rape, criminal attempt statutory rape, rape of a child above 12 years of age, gang rape of a child above 12 years of age, rape of a pregnant women, gang rape, gang rape of a married person, custodial rape and marital rape. The offences are graded from petty misdemeanor to first degree felony in the Penal Code of Bhutan.
Chencho Dema from Thimphu