January 3rd, 2018
Child abuse is one of the major problems in India. The most peculiar thing regarding cases of child abuse is that where some of them form blazing headline, most of them are wrapped in silence. Before we narrowly categorise the offense to be merely against girls, it has to be noted that 52% of the victims of child abuse are boys. If anyone of us think that there has been no child abuse in our family, we might be probably wrong because as per India’s seminal report on child abuse, published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Prayas, UNICEF and Save the Children in 2007, “every second child across the country is subjected to one or other forms of sexual abuse and every fifth child is facing severe forms of sexual abuse”. This article helps to recognise the forms of child abuse and what can be done to prevent the same.
Child abuse is any physical, sexual or mental maltreatment or neglect of a person who is below 18 years of age. A majority of children growing up in India have experienced child abuse in one or the other form, ranging from being beaten up for perceived transgression to being sexually assaulted by a relative and from being isolated and dehumanized to constantly being threatened to complain.
The recent case of Gurgaon, where Pradyuman Thakur a seven-year-old student of the Ryan International school was found dead with his throat slit in the school’s washroom has enraged and stunned the entire nation. Pradyuman was murdered by a 16-year-old boy of the same school. In another case of Arunachal Pradesh, 88 Students of a girls’ school were forced to undress by three teachers. They were made to do this as a punishment for writing vulgar words against the head teacher. In another shocking incident, a complaint was registered against the mother and stepfather of a 4-year-old girl who was made to sit on a hot pan.
Through these incidents, it is clearly visible that child abuse can take place in any form and can be committed by anyone including the teachers, friends, or relatives and even the parents. However, what is more disturbing is the fact that it takes untoward incidents to realise the enormity of child abuse. While a lot has already been discussed on the issue and the causes of child abuse, the focus should now be shifted to the collective and consistent responsibility to ensure the safety of children.