Child Sexual Abuse is a serious shame-enriched issue of concern prevalent in a society. Many of such cases are happening day in and day out. According to a recent study published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, India has the world’s largest number of sexually abused children; children below 16 years are raped every 155th minute and below 10 years are raped every 13th hour and there is severely under-reporting of such crimes. But while considering the incidence of rape, it is 2 per 100,000 people in India, which is much lower than the reported rape incidence rate statistics for many nations tracked by the United Nations. The majority of rape cases in India, as elsewhere in the world, is never
reported due to the social stigma. It has been reported that among all the Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)victims, 56% were referred to the police, 31% to the public prosecution and only about 8% reached the court. The under-reporting of CSA by victims is a serious problem that may prolong the suffering of victims and leave perpetrators free to continue offending.
Definition: RapeAnd Sexual Violence
■ A violent act of a sexual nature to a child. This encompasses rape, other sexual violence, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced marriage/pregnancy or enforced sterilization.
■ Sexual violence: any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, or acts to traffic a child’s sexuality. Sexual violence takes many forms, including rape, sexual slavery and/or trafficking, forced pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and/or abuse and forced abortion. ■ Rape/attempted rape: an act of non-consensual sexual intercourse. This can include the invasion of any part of the body with a sexual organ and/or the invasion of the genital or anal opening with any object or body part. Any penetration is considered rape. Efforts to rape someone, which do not result in penetration, are considered attempted rape.
Impact Of Sexual Violence On Children
The impact of sexual violence on children is catastrophic – physically, psychologically and socially. Children who have been victims of sexual violence are often left with serious physical injuries, which can be particularly severe because their growing bodies are not yet fully developed. Damage to children’s reproductive systems can leave them incontinent, infertile and condemned to a lifetime of bleeding and pain. They are at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV. Girls who become pregnant can suffer life-threatening complications during childbirth, will often be
forced to drop out of school and can face social exclusion and stigmatization. Their chances for further education, livelihoods and marriage may be severely diminished or completely eliminated, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation. Sexual assault leaves a permanent scar in the mind and on the body of the victim and this is happening greatly in the child victims. This social menace not only affecting the victim, but the entire family also put into the shame and humiliation.
What is the need?
Child Sexual Abuse is an extensive problem and even the lowest prevalence
includes a huge number of victims. Hence, stringent measures should be taken for the prevention and control of this hidden public health issue. Child Sexual Abuse is a shame – enriched serious issue in any society, particularly in a semi-urban setting like that of the case of Bandipora’s 3 year old girl, Ayman Zehra . High risk population should be identified at earliest and stringent legislative measures should be taken properly to safeguard the interest of the victims and society at large. Mass media should play an important role by creating awareness among common people. Public protests and demonstrations in solidarity with and in demand of
justice for child sexual abuse victims, in demand of strengthening the law and capital punishment for rapists/accused, in demand of putting an end to the menace of this abuse – are crucial need of the hour. Media has an immense role to play in covering such protests to sensitize world leadership and community towards it. But while protesting, be clear in what you demand without giving any communal, political or religious color to it. Police anywhere should too understand the purpose of such demonstrations and not resort to any kind of violence. It is all about to put an end to this menace of Child Sexual Abuse”.
(The author a Medical Practioner at SMVD Narayana Super Specialty Hospital, Jammu is also a motivational speaker, activist, columnist and a top educator awardee.views are his own)
The author a Medical Practioner at SMVD Narayana Super Specialty Hospital, Jammu is also a motivational speaker,activist,columnist and a top educator awardee.