Fear makes most victims suffer in silence

DURGESH NANDAN JHA IN TIMES OF INDIA SEPTEMBER 19,2010

CHILD ABUSE
CHILD ABUSE

New Delhi: About 50% of children in India are subjected to sexual abuse by people known to them and who are in a position of trust and responsibility. According to child psychiatrists,due to increased communication gap between children and parents many of these cases do not get reported.The victims suffer in silence as has been highlighted by the year-long abuse of the three sibling in the capital which got exposed only after the neighbours alerted the police. Mostly,children dont report the assaults to anyone.The perpetrators of the sexual violence are people whom they trust and who are known to family members.Also,the perpetrators threaten them with dire consequences if they tell anyone about it, said Dr Jitender Nagpal,consultant psychiatrist,Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Sciences (VIMHANS).

He said the abuse of both male and female child is common.Abused children suffer from low self-esteem,poor management of negative emotions and weak communication and social skills, said Nagpal.

CHILD ABUSE
CHILD ABUSE

Rishi Kant,a child rights activist,said: A government commissioned survey conducted in 2007 stated that 53% of children are subjected to sexual abuse.The survey which covered different forms of child abuse physical,sexual and emotional found that two out of every three children have been physically abused.Three years down the line,the number of cases have increased but no steps have been taken by the government to punish the perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence or to sensitise children about this.Few schools have counsellors with whom the children can share their grievances.

Nagpal said: The perpetrators often refer to children in pure or angelic terms using words like innocent,divine and pure to describe them.Parents should be alert about such traits.Parents need to communicate with their wards as much as possible.

The involvement of students as young as 14 years in the recent criminal act is reflective of the negative impact of exposure to sexual images in media and internet. Delhi health minister Kiran Walia,who is the minister for women and child development in the state,said that the government will appoint counsellors in schools.The legal redressal has to be quick and as stringent as possible in these cases, she said.

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