Posted On Friday, November 23, 2007
Recent incidents on abuse of children in our suburbs has prompted residents to issue a wake-up call against child abuse
The recent incident where the bus driver of a reputed school in Powai molested four school children has sent shock waves among both parents and teachers. The school did take action, but this has not healed the scars this incident has left on innocent minds.
Also, a recent survey by the Mumbai Parents Teachers Association shows over the past two years, sexual abuse of school children has increased by 20 per cent of which five per cent of the accused have been bus drivers.
"It is time we acknowledged the problem and did something about it," says Dr Preethi Menon, a Mulund-based paediatric psychiatrist dealing with child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can take several forms - from verbal, visual, tactile, exhibitionist and pornographic offences and fondling to anything that sexually stimulates the offender.
The strategy of the offender can vary from tricking, luring, forcing and pressuring to threatening the victim. According to Dr Menon, it is an abuse of power and a violation of the child's right to a normal and trusting relationship.
Tertiary intervention should involve coordination among the police, courts, counsellors, doctors and social workers.It is the children of the lower socio-economic strata who suffer the maximum.
Says Sonali Jaiswal, a resident of Mulund, "Often we come across victims of child abuse. In such cases we must draw attention of those who can provide aid. I once reported such a matter to the NGO Arpan.
(It works towards this cause in Mumbai by conducting teacher-training programmes in schools and awareness talks amongst parents and individuals).They gave her proper attention and gave psychiatric treatment to her."
They are confused and do not know how to speak about it. The problem is neither the schools nor the parents acknowledge the seriousness of the problem."firstname.lastname@example.org