February 22, 2011


Times of India, Kanpur

Several girls silently bear sexual abuse: Survey

KANPUR: Nearly 40 per cent of girls in the city are victims of some form of sexual abuse, revealed a study conducted by the home science department of Chandra Shekher Azad (CSA) University of Agriculture and Technology. It includes girls who are in the age group of 9-12 years and have been molested either at schools or homes. Many girls have faced physical and emotional neglect and social abuse as well.

Out of 249 girls surveyed, 123 reported of instances where their private parts were touched. While 41.2 per cent were forced to expose their genitals or subjected to other forms of sexual abuse. Whereas many girls reported of sexual act where the abuser forced the girl to touch his genitals.

Under the supervision of Neelima Kunwar, office-in-charge, extension education and communication management, CSA, the students of home science conducted a study among 249 girls under the age group of 9-12 years in 2010. The study was conducted in five Hindi and five English medium schools. The girls were interviewed with the help of a questionnaire.

"Generally, girls are sexually abused by an individual known to her family or somebody in her surrounding institutes. Rarely the abuser is a stranger," said Neelima. "In most of the cases, the girls were forced to show their body parts to the friends, cousins or teachers who are the abusers. They even are exposed to pornography and are forcefully kissed," she said.

Notably, abuse happens when someone tries to control or hurt the girl. It can be physical such as hitting or pushing. It can be making a girl feel worthless or making her possessive or jealous, to stop her from speaking to friends or family or even forcing her to participate in sexual activities.

Neelima mentioned that the victim is continuously targeted by the same abuser. With the passe of time the abuse rate increases. For example in the case of sexual abuse, the abuser in the initial stages shows his body parts and then it progresses to kissing, fondling, penetration and so on. And at the time he ensures to threat the child by abusing her physically and emotionally. Abuser simply try to convince the child that nobody would believe if they tell about the abuse.

However, such inappropriate sexual behaviour with a child such as fondling a child's genital, making the child fondle the adult's genital, intercourse, rape and sexual exploitation occurs because the respondent fails to express themselves after facing abuse. "Girls are least aware about such practices and secondly, they their parents due to some kind of physical abuse they experience at home.

Some girls are ashamed and feel guilty despite being subjected to fear and frustration.

Normally, the children who have been sexually exploited suffer from infection, genital injury, abdominal pain and urinary tract infection or behavioural problems. Besides, they face academic difficulties, concentration problem, depression, fear or shyness, insomnia and difficulty in learning.

Besides this, there are physical, emotional and neglect abuse. Physical abuse is one of the common abuse contributing to 72 per cent of the cases. In such cases, the child faces repeated beating and injuries, kicks, burns and other form of torture. As per the survey, a majority of children are either beaten by mother or schoolteacher. This is followed by emotional abuse. It includes verbal and mental abuse which leads to serious behavioural, emotional and mental disorders. Girls are even the victims of social abuse.

However, psychologist suggest that such unethical practices can be controlled if parents practice certain prevention strategies such as anger management and fill the communication gap between children and themselves.

Indian Express

Govt to bring in Bill to check sexual abuse of children

The government on Monday proposed to bring in a comprehensive legislation soon to prevent sexual abuse of children that will have provisions for stringent punishment for such offences.

In her address to joint sitting of both houses of Parliament, President Pratibha Patil said the government "proposes to introduce a bill regarding protection of children from sexual offences".

The new law will cover all new aspects of sexual offences against children not covered elsewhere with provision for stringent punishment.

Once through, this law will take precedence over any other existing law.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi was keen to see the bill through and had written to Women and Child Development (WCD) minister Krishna Tirath last year asking her to hasten the pace of the legislation focusing on sexual abuse of the children, sources said.

Amid reports of differences between ministries, she had asked the WCD ministry to coordinate with the Law Ministry which had already prepared a draft bill on similar lines.

The proposed legislation aims at protecting children against offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment, pornography and provide for establishment of special courts for trial of such offences.

The punishment for penetrative sexual assault has been proposed as at least five years in jail and a minimum fine of Rs 50,000. Sexual assault also includes fondling the child in an inappropriate way which will invite a penalty of minimum three years in jail.

There is a special provision preventing abuse of children for pornographic purpose or possessing pornographic material involving children. There will an obligation on media, studio and photographic facilities to report such cases and failure to do so will attract punishment.

To prevent misuse of this law, there is deterrent factor on false complaints and false information leading to six-month jail term.

There will be set procedure for media on reporting that would bar giving details of the victim and accused children's family or personal details or any form of reporting that can lead to their identification. Besides, it proposes special courts and more sensitive ways in dealing with crime against children.

In her address, Patil also touched upon the issue of protection of women against sexual harassment at workplace.

"The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill has also been introduced in Parliament," Patil said.

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