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How secured are our children in the society?

Every 2nd child is being exposed to one or the other form of sexual abuse and every 5th child faces critical forms of it. They all are in need of protection. In India, one in every two children is a victim of child sexual abuse. India shelters 430 million children, approximately one in five children in the world and the government assesses that 40 per cent of India’s children are susceptible to coercions such as trafficking, homelessness, forced labour, drug abuse, and crime.

The National Study reported that 53.18 per cent children in the family environment not attending school reported facing sexual abuse. 49.92 per cent children in schools reported facing sexual abuse. 61.61 per cent children at work (shop, factory or other places) reported facing sexual abuse. 54.51 per cent children on the streets reported facing sexual abuse. 47.08 per cent children in institutional care reported facing sexual abuse. 20.90 per cent of all children were subjected to severe forms of sexual abuse that included sexual assault, making the child fondle private parts, making the child exhibit private body parts and being photographed in the nude. 50 per cent abusers are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility. The survey conducted by humanitarian aid organisation World Vision India with a sample of 45,844 respondents also revealed that one in every five do not feel safe because of the fear of being sexually abused. It also said one in four families does not come forward to report child abuse.

There is no day gone without the news about child molestation, everyday one child hit the headline but no one knows what happened there after. The reported cases make noise but there are many cases that go silent. The children had to go through hell; they become adult at very tender age. Their teachers, drivers, helpers and uncles or sometimes-even father mars them. Perversion and lust know no boundaries or human values, they just need someone to satisfy their urges, and that can be their small daughter/student/or any child.

A six-year-old girl was molested by a sanitation worker in the toilet of a school in Kalyan town of Mumbai and the accused was arrested and now on bail. The girl went to wash her hands after lunch and by mistake she entered the boys’ toilet, where the 43-year-old accused was doing cleaning work, on seeing the girl in the toilet alone, he grabbed and molested her and also made obscene gestures at her.

In Bareilly, a school bus conductor tried to molest a nine-year-old girl, while some school staff beat up and held captive the student’s father when he went to speak to them about the incident. In the same month, a 45-year-old principal of a government school in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh, was arrested for outraging the modesty of a class 8 girl on its campus. He molested many students, but they just kept silent. This follows a series of unfortunate events involving children in schools, highlighting the seriousness of school safety in the country.

In another incident, a 12-year-old girl was kidnapped and raped in Chandigarh. Crimes against children have gone up in Chandigarh in recent years. This girl, on her way to school to celebrate Independence Day, was kidnapped and raped. The Class 8 student had taken a short cut to school through park in Chandigarh’s Sector 23 when a man stopped her, pulled her aside and raped her twice and left her wounded. The rapist is still not traceable, the CCTV footage could not capture the tragedy, and no one knows who that man was. As usual police is still doing routine investigations but the rapist is roaming free. You never know if he is doing the same with other small girls too.  Meanwhile, Raipur Police arrested a CRPF constable in connection with the molestation of girl students of a state-run residential school during a cultural programme in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. The constable was not alone, he took his friend to do the same, and these two men raped that student taking turns. The incident took place on July 31, during a ‘Raksha Bandhan’ programme that was organised by the CRPF troopers ahead of the festival at the state-run residential school in Dantewada’s Palnar village under Kuakonda police station.

There is another incidence, where a seven-year-old girl was sedated and molested by two senior girl students, repeatedly over the last few months, at her school in west Delhi’s Moti Nagar. A 14-year-old girl was abducted and molested by two men in a car when she was returning home after school on foot in Hyderabad’s Hayathnagar area. A 35-year-old man from Bhiwandi in Thane, who used his four-wheeler to ferry school children, was arrested for raping two minor girls for six months. These are just point one per cent examples. The child exploitation and sexual abuse is on rise. Violence takes place in homes, schools, orphanages, residential care facilities, on the streets, in the workplace, in prisons and in places of detention.

The murder of a Class 2 student in Ryan International School in Gurugram, who was found with his throat slit in the bathroom shortly after he reached school, has raised troubling questions about how safe children are in school premises.

In 2017, four such cases, (including the recent murder at Ryan International) took place in Delhi. Sexual assault cases have become too common in schools. In Delhi alone, crimes against children in schools, both public and private, are disturbingly common; eight out of 10 incidents were reported in Delhi alone.

There was an appalling disclosure by government commissioned survey which says more than 53 per cent of children in India are subjected to sexual abuse, but most don’t report the assaults to anyone. The survey covered different forms of child abuse — physical, sexual and emotional — as well as female child neglect; found that two out of every three children have been physically abused. Child abuse is swathed in silence and there is a conspiracy of calm around the entire subject.

The survey, carried out across 13 states and with a sample size of 12,447, revealed that 53.22 per cent of children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse, with Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Delhi reporting the highest percentage of such incidents. In 50 per cent of child abuse cases, the abusers were known to the child or were in a position of trust and responsibility and most children did not report the matter to anyone. Over 50 per cent children were subjected to one or the other form of physical abuse and more boys than girls were abused physically. The first-ever survey on child abuse in the country disclosed that nearly 65 per cent of schoolchildren reported facing corporal punishment — beatings by teachers — mostly in government schools. Of children physically abused in families, in 88.6 per cent of the cases, it was the parents who were the perpetrators. More than 50 per cent had been sexually abused in ways that ranged from severe such as rape or fondling — to milder forms of molestation that included forcible kissing. When it comes to emotional abuse every second child was subjected to emotional assault and in 83 per cent of the cases, parents were the abusers.

Now tell me how one can think of secured nation or society for young lives in India?

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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