No one needs an introduction to this topic, I’m sure. Heard about the Ryan International School murder case? It caused an uproar in India when a 7-year-old boy was found dead in a washroom. A bus conductor working for the school was arrested by the Gurugram police, citing sexual abuse as the motive. It was a parent’s worst nightmare come true.
Two and a half months later, it doesn’t look like sexual abuse was the motive – but the scare it gave us made us aware of our surroundings and opened a can of worms. Suddenly, debates were being held on the screening processes that should be carried out by schools for hiring bus conductors. Some people even suggested that schools should hire bouncers. All in all, it was a wake-up-call to everyone that child sexual abuse should be fought against and crushed hard.
Guess what I found in my local newspaper on this year’s Children’s Day – an article on sexual abuse of children. Reading it made my hair stand on end.
India has the world’s largest number of child sexual abuse (CSA) cases. According to another report, one girl in every five and one boy in every 10 face sexual abuse globally. Haunting, right? For every hour passing by, two children are sexually abused in some part of India. Most of them are under the age of 16 years.
I couldn’t believe it. I was sure that the statistics were wrong. We’re human after all. We wouldn’t do these to children, right? So I delved into this a little.
On November 3, 2017, a 1-year-old girl was raped by her 33-year-old neighbour in outer Delhi.
On May 13, 2017, a 10-year-old girl was found pregnant after being repeatedly raped by her stepfather in Haryana.
On May 10, 2017, a 21-month-old baby girl was raped by a 40-year-old man from her neighborhood in Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar area. He was a friend of her father.
On the same day, another case came to light. A 5-year-old girl, who was deaf and dumb, was raped by a 24-year-old man in Varanasi.
These are just some of the cases I could find within two minutes of googling.
Nothing is safe for our children anymore – not our streets, not our schools, not even our homes.
I remember watching a video where Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn, an international organisation against human trafficking and child abuse, tried to put into words his agony over watching how a 3-year-old was sexually abused by a man. I remember him getting teary-eyed at the end and taking a pause to comprehend how someone could be so cruel to a child.
Can you imagine being taken advantage of as a child? Can you comprehend the extent of emotional and physical trauma a child undergoes due to this? Childhood, which is supposed to be the happiest time of their lives, is nothing but a black hole to them, sucking out all of their mental peace.
Talk to your kids about the ‘bad touch’. Make them understand that evil lurks not far away from them. Don’t keep quiet when you see someone sexualising kids – be it on your street or on social media. Donate to NGOs that are working to prevent child sexual abuse. Fight for stronger laws against CSA. Our kids deserve better.
Let’s raise children that don’t need to recover from their childhoods.
Here are some links every person should check out :
Some NGOs in India working to prevent CSA are:
Featured image used for representative purposes only.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.