The New York Times is out with a disturbing report from a child advocacy group in Afghanistan suggesting that the rape of boys by teachers and other figures of authority is exceedingly common. The story cites 165 reports gathered from just three schools by the Logar Youth, Social and Civil Institution. The Guardian, meanwhile, has an even larger sample from the same group: 546 accounts of rape from six schools. A typical example, as told by a 14-year-old to the group: A teacher asked the boy for a "little favor" to ensure a passing grade, then took the boy to the school library and raped him. One common thread is that the victims are warned not to tell anyone, and the consequences are all too real. Both stories recount instances of families killing their sons after accusations surfaced.
The group also says at least seven boys were raped by police officers after coming forward. "The rapists are teachers, older students, authority figures, and even extended family members," Logar's Mohammad Musa told the Guardian earlier this month. More recently, Musa was detained by Afghanistan's intelligence agency after talking to a TV channel about his group's findings. The Times puts the problem into context with an explanation that "bacha bazi," which translates roughly to "boy play," is a long-standing tradition among men in powerful positions who keep boys as sex slaves. In fact, the Logar group began investigating when a post surfaced on Facebook showing men with boys in sexual positions. (In the US, a lawsuit alleges a "pedophilia epidemic in the Boy Scouts.)