In the wake of recent brutal killing of 7 year old Pradyuman inside the barthroom of Ryan International School in Gurugram last Friday has led to widespread protest against gross negligence by school authorities. The bus conductor of confessed his crime of molesting the student and then stabbing him after his refusal. But is such a case new to us? For the past10-15 years the news of child molestation in schools, homes and public places makes headlines every now and then. What our governments is doing and most importantly what we are doing as individuals for safety of our children’s innocent childhood?
What is child sex abuse?
According to United Nations “child sex abuse is contacts or interaction between a child and an older or more knowledgeable child or adult or stranger sibling or person in position of authority or a parent or caretaker when a child is being used as an object of gratification for the older child or adult’s sexual needs. These contacts or interaction are carried out against the child using force trickery, bribes, threats or pressure (UNICEF 2003).
Indian scenario of child sex abuse
A study was conducted in 2012 by Ministry of Women and Child Development in India covering 13 states. The study reported that about 21 per cent of the participants were exposed to extreme forms of sexual abuse. Among the participants who reported being abused, 57.3 per cent were boys and 42.7 per cent were girls, about 40 per cent were 5-12 years of age. About half of the participants were exposed to other forms of sexual abuse. The data was reported by the study on prevalence of various forms of sexual abuse.
Lack of parent child communication. Lack of proper mental and criminal verification of staff of schools and public institutes. Easy access to sexually exploitive materials. Lack of stronger social movements. Lack of awareness-to-action plan. Lack of initiatives by schools and authorities. Way forward: The best protection starts for a child is from home itself. It becomes important for our child to protect themselves and making them aware that self defence training is meant for protecting them from this evil not for other purposes like fighting with friends etc.
Role of government is very important for protection of nation’s children. Therefore better implementation of policies like The Juvenile (Care and Protection) Act 2000, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights 2007, Integrated Child Protection Scheme 2009, Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences 2012 and Child Helpline No 1098. Schools are considered second safe place after homes. The authorities should keep check on its staff and security systems. Timely guidance should be given to children. Removal of misconception that child sex abuse is only associated with girl child. The Pradyuman murder case is very fine example of it.
The NGOs should provide proper aid to such students mentally and come forward to help economically backward victims.
Last but not the least nowadays the parents are so busy in this digital world and handling the competition of society that they are widening the gap between them and their children. Atleast one of the parent should regularly talk to their children about their problems in schools and elsewhere before its too late.
Conclusion: On one hand we say a child is national building and on other hand some mentally retarded people are exploiting their childhood. The hope of reviving their future by better implementation of government policies, parent child communication, keeping check by authorities and better counseling for children would go a long way to avoid child sex abuse.
Gandhi Nagar, Jammu
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