here is no day that has gone without the news about child molestation; every day one child hits the headline but no one knows what happened thereafter! The reported cases make noise but there are many cases that go silent. The children have to go through hell and they become adult at a very tender age. Their teachers, drivers, helpers, and uncles or sometimes even fathers mar 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. Every second child is being exposed to one or the other form of sexual abuse and every fifth child faces critical forms of it. They all are in a 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 of children in the family environment not going to school reported facing sexual abuse. 49.92 per cent children in the 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 of children in the 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 of the abusers are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility. The survey conducted by World Vision India, a humanitarian aid organisation, with a sample of 45,844 respondents also revealed that one in every five does not feel safe because of the fear of being sexually abused. It also said that one in four families does not come forward to report child abuse.
I can share hundred such incidences happened this year, sadly no follow-up or justice to these cases. We, the people read them as news, see it as an incidence, and forget the old happening because there is new such brutality every day. A 6-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 he is 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 9-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.
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 shortcut to school through the park in Chandigarh’s Sector 23 when a man stopped her, pulled her aside, raped her twice, and left her wounded. The rapist is still not traceable, the CCTV footage could not capture the tragedy; no one knows who that man was. As usual, the 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 along to do the same, and these two men raped that student taking turns. The incident took place on July 31, when a ‘Raksha Bandhan’ programme 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 7-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 the six months. These are just 1 per cent of the examples. The child exploitation and sexual abuse are on the 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 appalling disclosure by the 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 Ministry is working on a new law for the protection of children’s rights by clearly specifying offences against children and stiffening punishments.
(This is the first part of the Editorial and the latter part will continue on Sunday.)
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