Sexual abuse in all its forms is unacceptable. It is not something that happens only in Western countries or in nations such as Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka where sex tourism is a huge problem. Goverments around the world spend millions each year to try to stem the flow of pedophiles and other sex tourists into their region.
In some parts of the Developing World incest is a problem (and in some places a generational problem); as is rape. The vast majority of victims of incest are women, usually daughters or step daughters who are aged younger than 16 years.
Often the victims are forced into silence because they are members of a family or community that demands that these things are never talked about openly. Consequently many victims of sexual abuse suffer in silence. This significantly adds to the disempowering of women.
As these secrets leak out NGOs are able to address the issue by providing safe houses, victim support programs and counselling services. Because speaking about the issue is taboo within the community often women who seek help are ostracized. As a result some women must start a new life away from their home. Victims of sexual abuse need help on many levels and consequently need more time to recover from their ordeals. Without outside support programs some victims lose hope.
However sexual abuse is not just limited to to local villages or the sex industry, in the past complaints against NGOs and aid workers have been lodged.
In May 2008 Save The Children released a report entitled No One To Turn To, which examined the chronic under-reporting of abuse committed by aid workers and peacekeepers and proposed 3 recommendations to tackle it. 1. The establishment of an effective complaints mechanism. 2. The setting up of a global watch dog to monitor the situation, and 3. For Governments and NGOs to tackle the root causes of the problem witnin their own organizations.