Is your Child Safe?

 

Arushi Mehta is a student of B.Sc Life Science. Apart from biology she has a strong inclination towards writing. She write fictions, poems and much more. She wants her voice to be heard and writing provides her that platform. She writes about inhuman acts as well and she scrutinizes the internet and newspapers to make her articles strong and justifiable.

Is your Child Safe?

A child, a girl, a woman, be it any phase of life, the impact of molestation on the victim is horrendous. Every day we come across news claiming a girl being molested by her own family member. Let us talk about the most jovial, happening and full of energy phase of life i.e. CHILDHOOD. When a girl is abused during her childhood, they just not destroy her sexually; the victim is wrecked mentally as well. Children who are sexually abused, whether the abuse is intra- or extra-familial, frequently grow up in adverse family environments. Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a prevalent social and public health problem. The American Medical Association (2003) defines CSA as “the engagement of a child in sexual activities for which the child is developmentally unprepared and cannot give consent”. According to the World Health Organization (2002), CSA is a worldwide problem with 25% of females and 8% of males reporting experiencing sexual abuse before the age of 18. As CSA often goes unreported, the actual incidence of CSA is thought to be much higher than that reported by governmental agencies. For both women and men, a history of childhood sexual abuse is associated with a variety of short- and long-term psychological, social, behavioural, and health-related effects.

Though there is huge library of stories on girls who encounter CSA, below is the story of a girl who faced childhood abuse by her own brother.

“I was 8 years old when he touched my body. It was winter vacations, me and my mother chose to visit our aunt’s village. My aunt lived with her son who was around 16 years at that time. We stayed there for almost a week. One day my mother and aunt made a plan to visit the nearby market, I insisted that my mother take me with them but she said the market was crowded and I would get lost there, she also promised me she would buy me a beautiful doll, so I stayed home with my brother. It was afternoon and I was watching TV, my brother was doing something on the computer in the other room. Suddenly he called me in the room, said he wanted to show me something. I went there, he told me to sit next to him. When I sat, he played a pornographic movie on the computer, I did not had any idea about porn at that time so I kept watching it, I thought it was just another movie and suddenly the girl and the guy started to remove their cloths. I was stunned to watch that, I got up and tried to walk away but my brother held my hand tightly and insisted me to sit back and watch the full movie. I had no idea why he wanted me to watch that and he wouldn’t let me get up so I sat there. After few minutes he held me from my neck and tried to kiss my lips, when I refrained, he held me tightly and kissed me, he tried to get into my skirt, insisted me to touch his private areas. He abused me physically. I was too little to figure out what happened with me. After that incident he told me not to tell anyone what happened between us or else it will have bad impact on my life. He said if I tell anyone, he would come to again and do everything again and again. I was afraid at that time so I chose to remain silent. Than in the noon my mother bought doll for me from the market, I still remember that time when my inner voice said to me ‘Girls preserve their dolls so gently, than why these human wreck girls who are dolls in real life? Why can’t girls be treated like dolls?’ I didn’t say a word to my mother that day, I cried the whole night, and my biggest mistake was to remain silent. Though he did not torture me after that incident but that one day still haunts me. I was just 8 years old, too little to sense the danger, too innocent to be touched, still he wrecked me, still he touched me.”

The law for CSA in India has been discussed here. The law against Child sexual abuse in India has been enacted as part of the nation’s child protection policies. The Parliament of India passed the ‘Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Bill, 2011’ regarding child sexual abuse on May 22, 2012 into Act. The new Act provides for a variety of offences under which an accused can be punished. It recognizes forms of penetration other than peno-vaginal penetration and criminalizes acts of immodesty against children too. The act is gender-neutral. With respect to pornography, the Act criminalizes even watching or collection of pornographic content involving children. The Act makes the abetment of child sexual abuse an offence. It also provides for various procedural reforms, making the tiring process of trials in India considerably easier for children. The Act has been criticized as its provisions seem to criminalize consensual sexual intercourse between two people below the age of 18. The 2001 version of the Bill did not punish consensual sexual activity if one or both partners were above 16 years.

Besides these rules and laws, we can help protect our children from this evil by making them aware about it, encouraging them to confide in their trusted adults. Some of the things we can do on an individual level are:

  • Be a friend of them, talk to them, teach them to share everyday activity with you, do not let them feel alone.
  • Do not leave your child with any relative; you never know when a mind gets evil ideas.
  • Teach your child how to be attentive, active and bold.
  • Get to know the people in your child’s life. Ask your child about the kids they go to school with, parents of their friends, and other people they may encounter, such as teammates or coaches.
  • Incidents of sexual violence are frequently covered by the news in TV. Ask your child it they have heard of these incidents happening before.
  • Become familiar with your child’s warning signs and notice any change in your child.
  • Teach your child about boundaries, safe and unsafe touch, i.e. no one has the right to touch them or make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
  • Many perpetrators use secret-keeping or threats as a way of keeping children quiet about abuse. Remind your child frequently that they will not get into trouble for talking to you, no matter what they need to say.
  • Avoid punishing them for speaking up.

Opinions expressed are of the bloggers.

 

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