Child Abuse – A Heart Wrenching Reality

After reading an article with heading a five month old baby girl was allegedly raped by a relative in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow in February 2020 I was once again devastated. Although we all have become immune to such cases as we have accepted them as the new normal but still something strikes us maybe 0.01% of humanity that is still left in us.

There is a famous Indian saying that “Bacche Bhagwaan ka roop hote hain”. But the question here arises is that, Is this what we do with god ? Is that the way we have ever dreamt of treating them like ? The answer will be a clear NO. But we are treating the children of our country like that.

Child Abuse which includes trafficking and child sexual abuse still remains the sad reality of Indian Society. It has become a serious and widespread problem prevailing in India as it is in many parts of the world.

The World Health Organisation defines child sexual abuse as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend is unable to give informed consent to or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent or that violates the laws or social taboos of society.

Child Sexual Abuse in India
India is the second most populous country in the world. It is the home to more than 400 Million Children. They constitute more than 40% of population. Signing up to the United Nation Convention on the rights of child in 1992, India promised to protect its children from all forms of sexual exploitation.

Increased concerns about child exploitation cases resulted in the first large government sponsored research study to assess the magnitude of child abuse in India. The survey revealed that more than 53% of Indian Children are subjected to sexual assault. Majority of the cases were committed by someone known to the child and majority of the cases go unreported because of the fear of society or because of the undesirable condition of the family.

According to recently released NCRB data 39827 Cases were reported in 2018, under POCSO Act, out of which 21,605 were rape cases which included 21,401 rapes of girls and 204 of boys. According to NCRB calculations aa many as 109 children were sexually abused everyday in India in 2018.
The reports clearly show that how pathetic the condition of children is in our society. Especially girls, they are more prone to sexual abuses, although boys were also subjected to sexual abuse and social stigma.

The children who go through sexual assault, their mental and physical state is severely affected. The trauma attached with child abuse result in various disorders in children which includes emotional as well as bodily disorders, which some of them are never able to overcome and when a child abuse case goes unreported and child is not given any special help then he or she is forced to suffer in silence which creates multiple complex problems in children.

Increased attention in the activism around child protection led to the government of India passing the POCSO Act in 2012, Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 and Juvenile Justice Act 2015.

As many developing countries, India is also facing problems like poverty, illiteracy, overcrowding , large population density, lack of recreational facilities, large scale unemployment, corruption, child labour, child trafficking etc which are the main reason behind the occurrence of child abuse cases in India.

There are several challenges ahead as well so a child focused culture has to be established. The legal system should interpret the laws in a child friendly way. Legal system cannot alone fight the battle against child abuse and bring justice to the child but we together as a society can definitely overcome this problem and no doubt the most promising measure is mass awareness of such possible abuse and how to deal with it.

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