INTERVIEW: DRAGI ZMIJANAC MA.Sc., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER OF THE FIRST CHILDREN’S EMBASSY IN THE WORLD – MEGJASHI, REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA ; Newspaper VECER, 13 October 2008 ; Journalist: Daniela TRAJKOVSKA
Paedophiles are castrated in Denmark
The European legislature have no mercy on paedophiles. The most severe punishments are passed, most common being life imprisonment. In Norway the paedophiles are having a microchip-locators implanted, whereas in Denmark chemical castration is done to paedophiles recidivists.
As an INGO, whose main goal is to protect the rights and dignity of children, you have enrolled directly in the battle against sexual abuse over minors. What are your conclusions up to now?
- About one million children throughout the world are victims of sexual harassment, and the data worldwide speaks that only 30 percent of the cases are revealed. The statistics show that female children are 5 times more often victims of sexual abuse than male children, i.e. one in three girls and one in seven boys are victims of paedophiles. In 90 percent of the cases the abuse lasts several years, and in 10 percent it lasts several months. Only a few months ago the FBI revealed the first internet chain of paedophiles where the children victims were between 1 and 9 year old. One of the cases reported a few days ago on the SOS line at the Children’s Embassy shows that a paedophile father continued to live alone with his little daughter although he was sentenced to jail for paedophilia. The second case refers to a man who although sentenced to jail for incest, he was set free in only three months! We have received a call from a mother whose 10-year-old girl was seduced by an unknown older man, who asked her to get into the car to show him where a store was located. Then he took her to a basement and tried to attack her. The girl managed to escape, but since there was no evidence of an assault, the police told her mother that she cannot start a procedure?! Two months later, the same man managed to rape another girl.
Is the paedophilia in Macedonia in the past few months and years in rise, or, is this issue now more openly talked about, and the cases revealed to the public in the media?
- Macedonia is one of the countries in which the paedophilia instead of having a negative trend, is constantly rising. In the past 6 months, the youngest victim was only 5 years old, and the oldest paedophile was a 72-year-old man. The silence and the taboos about sexual abuse of children, their procuring and trade by their parents are now crushed. Paedophilia was present in the past as well, but it wasn’t talked about publicly for several reasons, such as fear, shame and stereotypes that the child victim, especially the girls, should remain silent about the sexual harassment, most commonly by familiar adults. The frequent reactions for a more severe punishment of the paedophiles, appeals for deprivation from the right to parenthood to parents perpetrators and a bigger responsibility of the state institutions, has decreased the level of tolerance towards the rapists. For the first time this year the judges passed two sentences of 15 years of imprisonment to two paedophiles. The first sentence was passed to the paedophile Jove Kostadinovski who repeated the crime for the third time in the most cruel and brutal way by keeping as a hostage and sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy, ward of the Foster Home “11 Oktomvri” in Skopje, for 23 days; and the second sentence was passed to Trajce Petkovski for raping two 12-year-old girls with developmental impediments, one of which was his daughter.
Do you think that the competent institutions are adequately equipped with professionals and whether there is a program for solving the traumas suffered by abused children?
- There still isn’t a specialized refuge for children victims of sexual abuse, which would be open for 24 hours. The First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi started cooperating with the Municipal Center for Social Work in order to revive this direct centre in Macedonia, in order for the children victims to receive basic conditions for recovery, rehabilitation, resocialization and reintegration in the community, as well as formation of a team of professionals for early detection and support of victims. The housing in this refuge should be of temporary character, which means that forms of special families for fostering these children should be developed. The state should prepare a program for continuous training of professionals for detection of victims. The problem with giving statements more than once is also a key question which requires special attention. The child should not give his/her statement in the police station, then in the Centers for Social Work, and finally, in court. He/She should only give a statement once, because each recollection of the act of violence is an additional torment for the child.
From the information that you have, what are the consequences from this act of sexual violence conducted over a minor and can a raped child itself become a rapist when becoming an adult?
- From a large number of cases, a conclusion has been drawn that the perpetrators in a way have been tormented or abused by their parents or other people, or have witnessed an abuse. The worst way of child abuse is sexual abuse. Thus, it is very important that these abused children start psychiatric therapy as soon as possible, since the first day of the abuse, in order to be helped to go on with their lives and to reduce the traumas that they suffer.
How should the parents act preventively in order to protect their children, and if their child is sexually abused, how should they react?
- The parents should always know where their children are and with whom. They should be cautious on the issue whom they confide their children to baby-sit. The paedophiles can be very kind and careful with the children victims until they gain their affection and then they abuse them sexually. The children often show signs of something wrong going on with them, but not all parents recognize these reactions and thus don’t react on time. When a paedophile is a person known to the child, they then try to frighten and confuse the child by threatening for their demands, and often insist that it be “their secret”. The parents have a special responsibility in the care and the protection of their children. In doing this, they should talk to their children about all their problems.
Megjashi demanded life sentence for paedophiles. There are also citizens that demand death sentence. In Great Britain and France there is a demand for introducing a punishment of castration. How is paedophilia sentenced in the European countries and worldwide?
- The European legislatures, as well as the judges in the countries of the European Union, have no mercy on paedophiles. The most severe sentences are passed, and life sentence is the predominant one. USA is striving for several decades’ imprisonment for paedophiles. In Norway, the paedophiles are implanted with a microchip-locator, so that the bodies of persecution can always track them. In Denmark, chemical castration is conducted to paedophiles recidivists, in France there is an option of jail-hospital, and in Canada 20-years’ imprisonment is in practice, while the former convicts should be subdued to social-judicial monitoring measurement. One element of this measurement is a mobile electronic bracelet, which is attached to a recidivist from jail. The Polish premier Donald Tus strived for the brutal chemical castration of paedophiles, but this was not accepted by the opposition who thought that it violated the human rights, although according to the research conducted, around 79 percent of the Polish proclaimed in favour of paedophile castration. In the countries taken as less civilized, death penalty is the only verdict for the perpetrators. The First Children’s Embassy in the World - Megjashi has demanded for several times that the judges sentenced the paedophiles with the maximum of life imprisonment, since there is no guarantee that after leaving prison the paedophile will not repeat the crime.
Children should be encouraged not to remain silent
How should children be encouraged not to be silent about this type of abuse by adults and what steps should the government make in order to protect and help them?
- We are encouraging children victims not to remain silent, but to tell about the act to adults they trust. It is very important that the children know their right to privacy. If the paedophile tries to attack them, they should scream as loud as possible until someone helps them. They should always be at a safe distance when talking to strangers. They should never accept any presents, promises, proposals for favors required from them to enter in a car, apartment or an unknown location. If they are caught by a stranger, they should try to confuse them by kicking the sensitive parts of their bodies and try to remember as many details of the perpetrator, to report them to the police or the SOS lines, and to tell their closest relatives. In schools, educative programs should be conducted for prevention from sexual abuse of children. The state, on the other hand, should form archives of information from the SOS lines, centers for social work, the police, the schools and the medical institutions on a national level on cases of sexual abuse in order to act more preventively and more coordinately.
Journalist: Daniela TRAJKOVSKA
Photo by Dzvonko Plavevski
[12:50:09] Dragi Zmijanac says: