Oman, the oil-rich kingdom is known for its diverse environments including deserts, beaches and first class hotels. However, there is also a dark side to the country that is not usually advertised in the mainstream media.
Recently local news revealed a shocking story of child abuse in the country. According to a report, there have been more than 300 cases of child abuse in 2016 alone, of which about 100 were reported through a hotline that was launched in the country to investigate child abuse cases. The figures only include those abuses that were revealed by the hotline. The undocumented cases of child abuse could be much higher.
The Times of Oman has reported that there are a lot of child abuse cases in the country. Sourcing a top official, the report pointed out that children are being forced into the sexual trade, harassed, and abused in different ways by their relatives.
According to the report, about 24 percent of the abuse cases related to sexual violence against the children. Moreover, about 18 percent of the cases related to physical abuse and 3 percent emotional abuse cases were revealed.
Both male and female children received a similar share of abuse. The report revealed that around 53 percent of the victims of child abuse were boys while around 47 percent were girls.
The hotline through which the shocking news of the child abuse cases in Oman was revealed has been tested for six months only. According to the report by the Times of Oman, of the reported child abuse cases, the age of around 43 percent of children was less than five.
The revelation of the child abuse cases came from hospital authorities and close relatives of the children. One case related to a fourteen-year-old girl who had fainted in school after receiving a beating at home. She was later transferred to a hospital and was kept there until a public prosecution authority had finalized the case.
Another case was reported by a hospital whereby a two months old infant boy had received a severe beating. The hospital reported the case to the government authorities. There are plenty of other shocking stories of how the Omanis abuse their own children.
There is no law against child beatings in the Arab kingdom. The children in the country are left at the mercy of their parents most of whom are reported to inflict severe beatings for minor offences.
A mental health expert Sayyida Basma Al Said, who owns the Whispers of Serenity Clinic in Oman, stated that she had seen a number of appalling cases whereby the girls were forced to sell their bodies to earn a living. She said that there are many other unreported cases of child abuse cases in her own country. The recent reports about child abuse cases are just a tip of the iceberg and the problem may be greater and more appalling in the country.