13 Aug 2017 06:02am IST
By Shivanshu K. Srivastava
Cases of child sexual abuse are indeed a blot on any society. A recent judgment rendered by the Chandigarh district court on July 18 left everyone in dismay, wherein the court rejected a plea of a pregnant 10-year-old rape victim for abortion. Girls at the victim's age are busy playing with their dolls and colouring their imagination with crayons and pencil colours. The only weight they have to carry is their books and bags, but sadly this little angel is carrying a 28-week old baby. On knowing that she is going to be a mother of a child just 10 years younger than her, which is not an uncommon gap between siblings, she will be prone to lifelong distress.
Another shocking recent case is of north-west Delhi, where a young girl just 15 years old recently gave birth to a girl in her school washroom. Similar to the above case, this girl was also raped by a man who happens to be her neighbour. Such cases are getting popular day by day and we often read about such incidents in news.
Teenage pregnancy seems to have emerged as a worldwide trend. Still, some countries record the highest rate of misery. In India, due to the historic tradition of child marriage in certain rural areas, teenage pregnancy was not a big deal. Over time, various amendments banned the child marriage and set up a minimum age for marriage for both the genders. Quite a number of resolutions and government programs aimed to end the tradition of teen pregnancy in India. Despite those initiatives, India still has a high rate of teen pregnancy, which is greater than even the United States and the United Kingdom. Out of every 1000 women pregnant in India, 62 are teenagers. According to National Crime Record Bureau, in each 30 minutes, a child is sexually abused in India. Evaluating the number of cases involving child sexual abuse, even the Supreme Court had to issue advisory recommending the government to make more stern laws to prevent such cases.
As it is anticipatable even from a brief study of cases involving sexual exploitation of children, most offenders are familiar with the victims. In a majority of such cases, the offenders are one among the neighbours, relatives, babysitters or either parent's friend.
The first step ensuring that children don't get exploited in any type of sexual abuse is to enlighten the parents about the potential threat. Parents must manage their time and aim to get more and more involved in their child's life. They should encourage their child to speak up and inform them the highlights of everything that happened in the course of the day. This must not come up as a compulsion, but rather as a friendly way of communication and learning. Parents must also explain to them that they really do hold every right over their body. Let them know that even in school the teachers have a certain limit which they can't infringe even by giving any excessive punishment. Some cases reveal that the kids were wrongly "punished" in a manner amounting to sexual abuse. Also, the parents must keep a vigilant eye on suspicious relatives and strangers who seem to be a potential threat to their child's safety. Threats, minor offences and similar matters must be reported at the initial stage itself before they grow up into exasperating problems.