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Ending Child Sexual Abuse: The Responsibility Of The Society

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It is the responsibility of society to help children to thrive. Children are of paramount importance for society. Around 120 million children in the world suffer violence[footnoteRef:2] and ‘Violence against children takes many forms, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and may involve neglect or deprivation. Violence occurs in many settings, including the home, school, community and over the Internet’[footnoteRef:3]. The children deserve a positive future that is free from the peril of childhood sexual abuse if children suffer sexual abuse then its impacts are long-lasting and often devastating.[footnoteRef:4] [2: #ENDviolence, unicef| for every child (Nov. 19, 2019),] [3: Violence Against Children, unicef| for every child (Nov. 18, 2019), ] [4: PREVENT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, OAK FOUNDATION (Nov. 18, 2019), ]

In India ‘Prevention of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012’ describes various forms of sexual offences which are penetrative or non-penetrative: sexual harassment, child pornography, penetrative sexual offense, aggravated penetrative assault. A recent medical study mentions that Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in America, Europe and Asia are 10.1%, 9.2% and 23.2% respectively.[footnoteRef:5] [5: Wihbey J., Global Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse, Journalist’s Resource (Nov. 19, 2019),]

In India around 72.1% of penetrative sexual assault is not reported, study report published by the Ministry of Women & Child.[footnoteRef:6] One of the reasons that the offenses are not reported because most of the perpetrator is “known accused”, the study ‘Crime in India: 2016’ indicates that 94.8% of accused of the penetrative sexual offenses under POCSO Act, 2012 is “known accused”[footnoteRef:7] and sexual offense against the children is perpetrated by the family members or near relatives and due to this the parents of the child feel reluctant to report the complain because of social pressure & they think that it might demean the reputation of their family in the society. [6: Kacker Dr. L.; VARADAN S.; & Kumar Pravesh, Ministry of Women and Child Development – Government India, Study on Child Abuse in India: 2007, ] [7: National Crime Records Bureau (Ministry of Home Affairs) Government of India, Crime in India: 2016 (pp. 186–226),✓&q=]

By introducing reform in the mechanism of police system or better policing, reform in the judiciary to ensure free & fast trial will increase the conviction rate, by introducing fast track courts, awareness programs on CSA, ensuring the safety of witnesses & victim, advanced equipment for evidence collection and modern forensic gathering, by establishing a child-friendly or safe environment and certainty of conviction rate thereafter generating deterrent effect in society and thereby helps in reducing the crime. Implementation & Enforcement of existing laws or statutes properly have a deterrent effect against CSA. The statistics says that it is “The certainty, uniformity of punishment & not severity of it and fast trial of proceeding will help in reducing the crime against child”.[footnoteRef:8] [8: Ghuge, P.; Adenwalla, M., & Rao, N. (2018, April 27), Should those who rape minors get the death penalty? (Nov. 18, 2019),]

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“The study on campaign “No Means No” in Nairobi and Kenya shows that the rape in both countries decreased by 50%. “No Means No” is an anti-violence teaching program in which to both girls and boys it teaches ‘how to identify risk early’, ‘how to say No effectively’, ‘how to run away- if words fail’ and ‘how to use physical self-defense’. The program also seeks to transform boy’s view of women and masculinity.”[footnoteRef:9] So “No Means No” campaign helps in creating awareness about the CSA and helps in educating the society that it is wrong. [9: Rosenberg, T. (2018, June 12), A Worldwide Teaching Program to Stop Rape, New York Times (Nov. 18, 2019),®ion&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection.]

Also results of program like “REAL Father Initiative” shows that the violence against child decreases significantly in the post conflict Northern Uganda. The initiative aims to establish positive partnership & parenting practiced among young fathers (age 16-25) and to reduce the intimate partner violence and physical punishment of children.[footnoteRef:10] Evidence shows that the involvement of the father in initiatives has a significant positive outcome and risk factors for future perpetration and violence occurring at family unit reduced significantly. [10: REAL Fathers Initiative, Institute for Reproductive Health (Nov. 19, 2019),]

Parent’s or Caregiver’s support to the child helps in creating a safe environment. One of the prominent steps is to provide parenting training to the parents especially to the young parents and to the first-time parents. From the beginning of the childhood, as you teach child the name of body parts, you have to also teach them about their genitals and you have to also teach the child the privacy of the body parts that some body parts are private and nobody can touch them. Talking about this early helps the child to talk about this clearly and the dread that you can’t talk about this will end. Teach your child early and often that there are no secrets between the child and parents and that you can feel comfortable in sharing anything with your parents whether it is good or bad, sad or fun. Tell the child that the ‘body secrets are not okay and that they can never be in trouble if they share ‘body secrets’ with them. A clear distinction between ‘good touch’ or ‘bad touch’ is embedded at early stage of life but it is often confusing as the term bad touch sometimes don’t feel bad or hurt, so instead of using the term bad touch we should use the term ‘secret touch’[footnoteRef:11], as it is an increasingly exact portrayal of what may occur. Create an environment at home in which sexual topic should be discussed comfortably.[footnoteRef:12] [11: Daniels, N., & Hill Child Counseling, 10 Ways to Teach Your Child the Skills to Prevent Sexual Abuse, Child Mind Institute (Nov. 17, 2019),] [12: Preventing and Identifying Child Sexual Abuse – Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics (Nov. 19, 2019),]

We are not credulous enough to say that these discussions will absolutely help in preventing CSA but by making people aware of the violence against children and arming children with the knowledge we can prevent them from being victimized. Violence can occur against any child at any point of time.

Recognize it. Report it. Help #ENDviolence

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