Trigger warning: mentions of child sexual abuse
We always think of boys as strong. We think that they can protect themselves… Child sexual abuse happens only to girls, as if boys can’t be sexually abused. But, all the above lines are just myths.
These myths can be questioned through the findings of a survey report, conducted by the Ministry of Women & Child Development (2007). It was found that 53.22% of children faced sexual abuse, in one or the other way.
Among them, 52.94% were boys i.e., slightly more than half of them. This number tells us that sexual violation is not only experienced by young girls, but also by boys too.
In 2016, a horrible case came to light. It was found that around 20 boys, aged 7-11, were being sexually abused by their hostel warden in Bhopal. The warden, Ajay Sharma, would enter their rooms late at night to prey on them.
Apparently, he would force them to strip and click nude photos. The boys belonged to Gujarati Dalit communities. They were studying at the Residential Bridging Centre, in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal.
The matter came into light when the students managed to run away from the hostel, somehow, and refused to go back. Eventually, they spoke about the sexual violence they were forced to endure.
In the Bhopal case, one of the survivors suffered severe mental trauma.
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Many boys suffer because the person they trust and open up to regarding sexual trauma, often ignores them and refuses to accept that such harm has been caused to them.
This increases the shame felt by boys and while some find ways to cope with it, others need active help to process it.
When you think about boys being sexually abused, it involves many kinds of abuse at the same time.
“Non-touch” abuse is also sexual abuse, such as exposing a child to pornography, talking about sex and sexual activity with the child, or passing comments of a sexual nature around the child.
Sexual abuse is an offense under the POSCO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012), where it is clearly mentioned that, “Any person who has apprehension that an offence is likely to be committed or has knowledge that an offence has been committed must bring the incident to the notice of the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or the local police.” (Sec 19.1).
According to Section 21 (1) of the POCSO Act, “Any person who fails to report the commission of the offence… shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extend to six months or with fine or with both.”
So, in case you come across any instances of CSA, you can report it to:
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Try to give a voice to the concerns of young kids, irrespective of gender, by reporting all such cases. A single call can help a young person undergoing such trauma, to survive.
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 email@example.com. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.