Today is child abuse prevention day!
According to a World Health Organization study, one in every four girls and one in every seven boys are victims of sexual abuse. Scary, isn’t it? But there is more.
As per this survey conducted in 36 countries, on an average, 36 per cent of girls and 20 per cent of boys had experienced some kind of sexual abuse. In India, the incidence of child sexual abuse (CSA) was high as the figure stood at more than 56 per cent!
What’s more, in most cases, the abuser was either a member of family or known to the victim. This malaise is neither restricted to rural or urban part of the country.
Uttar Pradesh has reported the highest number of CSA cases, which is over 36 per cent of the total cases in India. Let us not forget the CSA cases in Nithari in Noida. Not only this, as per a news item in Hindustan Times, people have no sensitivity to handle abused children. On 16th November, Hindustan Times reported how a 14-sexually-abused kid was traumatized by his so-called insensitive saviors!
Strangely, despite several attempts at awareness about the subject, we have not been able to introduce sex education. In fact, most governments banned it on pretext of preserving Indian culture!
I can site at least two CSA awareness attempts in theater and literature:
1. Bitter Chocolate by Pinki Virani: This book was a bestseller based on real-life experiences of CSA victims. Pinki Virani writes from children’s perspective. She makes few interesting observations:
- CSA happens to both guys and girls.
- India has lenient CSA laws, so much that a New Zealander convicted multiple times prefer to extradiate his case to India because he know here we have lesser penalties and that too happen to be implemented very slowly due to red tapism.
2. 30 Days in September by Mahesh Dattani: This play deals with CSA head-on. It is story of a girl who compulsively changes her boyfriend every month. But her current boyfriend refuses to let her break off after 30 days are over in September! He tried to find what assails her and forces her to deal with her problem-CSA. You will have to see the play to find how child abuse can lead to adversely impact a child’s life.
Numerous references to child abuse can be found in popular books as in Khaleid Hosseni’s The Kite Runner (Assef abuses Shoaib) and movies as Page 3 (remember how Konkana exposes that Page 3 celebrity Thapar in action). The interesting similarity between both these instances is that in both The Kite Runner and Page 3, the children who were being abused were from orphanage! They are not safe anywhere anymore. That is our collective shame of the society.