This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Lakshmi Pramod. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

With Sex Crimes Against Children On The Rise, Why Parents Must Take Action NOW

By Lakshmi Pramod:

A relationship between a mother and child takes deep root right from the point of conception. As time passes, the bond gets stronger and infinite trust defines their relation. However, no matter how close they are, at times, a child hesitates to discuss everything with parents. A highly sensitive and common issue all parents face today is molestation or sexual harassment of their children. Very often the mother is blamed for not ‘sensing’ it earlier or not educating her child the right way as expected. The horrendous question that comes to the fore is “What exactly is the right way to educate your child?” or “When do you start educating your child on such sensitive topics?”

Surprisingly in the case of the capital New Delhi, it seems that 97% of rapes are committed in homes and we expect women and children to feel safe at home. Child sexual abuse is the deliberate exposure of a minor child to sexual activity that the child cannot comprehend or consent to. This means a child is forced or talked into sex or sexual activities by another person.” Fondling of a child’s private parts or exposing the private parts of a child to others are all different forms of child sexual abuse.

What makes it worse is the increase in brutality involved. In 2013, there was a story of a horrific incident involving two drunk men who watched porn and then lured a 5-year-old girl playing in her neighbourhood to a room in the building where she stayed and repeatedly raped her. A detailed examination revealed glass pieces in her vaginal orifice. What could have led to such dreadful actions? The culprits said it was an attempt to stem the profuse bleeding. Incidents of the male child being sodomised are also on the rise. News of teenagers being drugged or raped in public transport or left to die on railway tracks after such heinous acts is quite common today. Waves of anger and hurt arose with ‘Nirbhaya’ but have we achieved anything favourable with regard to female safety?

Earlier, parents only had to guard their children against rape. Today with technology and the internet holding sway over our lives, child pornography is another evil that has reared its head in our midst. Another common problem that people avoid discussing or is considered taboo is incest. Incest is the crime of having sexual intercourse with a parent, child, sibling, or grandchild.

In 2013, completed trials on child sexual abuse stood at a pitiful 15% of the reported cases. The situation appears worse when one realises the conviction rate for child rape and sexual assault stands at a dismal 31.5%. More than 85% of such cases are still pending in courts with no deadlines for conviction. Eight cases of sex crimes against children are reported every day on an average in the capital. The number of convictions out of such a high number is 166 that is a meagre 2.4% of the total registered cases. Besides, in 389 cases the accused was acquitted. Knowing all this the victim’s family decides to either withdraw the case or brood in silence as if the physical humiliation isn’t enough.

What do these alarming figures signify? For a layman, it means a child abuser is lurking around every corner. How would you know letting your daughter free to pursue her innocent games of childhood will not have fatal repercussions? Does it mean the modern mother has not taught her child about the harsh realities of child abuse early enough, what with three-year-olds or even kindergarten kids being molested, raped or brutally killed in schools or their own locality by neighbours and relatives?

A recent online article in The Huffington Post caught my attention which mentioned that an eight-year-old girl in Delhi pretended to be dead to avoid being brutally killed by her rapist. He kept pinching her to check if she had died and on finding her unresponsive he fled the scene. She managed to reach home but had been injured and raped when she was playing outside her house. Many such incidents, various stories which would definitely arouse sympathy, are frequently reported.

Honestly, signing online petitions, holding candle marches and holding talk shows might spread the news, enrage the public but seem not to be solving the issue at all. Celebrities like Kalki Koechlin have admitted to being sexually abused as children. Actor Rahul Bose, present in that conference, responded saying that child sexual abuse is a mammoth issue but talking about it is considered taboo. The subject doesn’t find a lot of space in cinematic portrayal too except for some isolated efforts like documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kumar Singh’s ‘Chuppi Todo – Break the Silence’ or filmmaker Onir’s ‘Abhimanyu’.

Maybe, being a bit more alert, telling a kid the moment he or she begins to understand the difference between a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ touch would help. It is easier said than done but I feel if computers and dance can be included in the curriculum in grade three, why not such educational subjects too? Firstly, parents need to understand that their child needs to communicate freely with them. No matter how busy their modern lifestyle is, no matter how burdensome the household chores are, give your child the time to speak out his or her mind.

Don’t take any mention of incidents of touching or feeling lightly, no matter who the child is talking about. Trust your child first because he or she trusts you to take care of them. Monitor the daycare or school your child attends closely and be attentive to the teacher who mentions any change in the mood or behavior of your usually cheerful and bubbly child. Teach your child never to accept the overtures of perverts known or unknown to them. The child may not be able to react then and there, but he or she must find a sympathetic ear in his or her parents when he or she gets home.

Do not blame the child’s habits or clothes if you feel helpless to react properly. Never let your child feel they are imagining things or ask them to ignore something which they may not be comfortable with. Very often ignoring the obvious today does irreparable damage tomorrow. These are some tiny steps one could take to ensure that their child is both free and safe.

Featured image credit: Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images.

You must be to comment.
  1. Michayelu (Rungta R1 College Bhilai Raipur)

    Child Sexual Abuse?? I feel really guilty to even imagine the mindset of people, and when we say that parents have to take immediate action makes it more sensual. Parents before our generation were with us throughout the day, Parents of this generation leave children to explore whatever comes their way of imagination. The thought process and the imagination of the locale also makes them explore all possible things, and this leads to something for them which later they understand it as a CRIME.

    As my dear friend Lakshmi Says that educate the children , then my question is when to educate and to what extent? You telling the kids about good touch and bad touch seems to be a dilemma for so many kids they are blank slates and we actually are telling them the taste of bad sense, the decision again is with the human nature only. Please understand if we tell kids not to do a particular work they will its their sense of exploration. Why not we work on the society only. The worst situation is in our country as my friend has cited. Then lets get a solution for this problem which will never end.

    What do you think that putting handful of people behind the bars will make others refrain NO!!! it will never this is simply a need for their satisfaction and pure need and they have to get a way out. Nirbhaya and all has made them find this way where a kid will never try to explain what went with her or him.

    In a country where Liquor cannot be banned and Smoking cannot be stopped then in that country the PROSTITUTE SHOPS should also be given a permit, in this way atleast the society will get a sense of their safety where every other who is raving for desires will atleast go to a designated place only and will never hamper or hurt our kids. All the criminals also were a part of this society only that means in between us only and that means his thoughts and his situations have been aroused from between us only.

    Let the kids live their independent and free life and let them breath flawless and condition less life , let them feel the sky, the sunlight, the mud, the rain dont give them a CHECKLIST please.



More from Lakshmi Pramod

Similar Posts

By Ali Qalandar

By Raju Murmu

By Yash C

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below