Priyanka Chaturvedi

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Posts Tagged ‘Mummy

Return to Innocence: My thoughts on Child Sexual Abuse

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The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable, a violation of mankind’s most basic duty to protect the innocent ~ James T. Walsh

Before I start writing my viewpoint about child sexual abuse, there is an honest confession I would like to make, for me it has never been easy to talk, share or write about a topic as serious as this. I have been guilty of looking at the world with rose tinted glasses despite its harsh realities. I know it’s a big bad world out there; it is something I want my children to be aware too, but something I would want to do in a way that it doesn’t make my kids believe that this world is made up ogres and ogresses. I wouldn’t want them to lose their trust in everyone but yes I would want them to judge and be wary of everyone before choosing to place their trust in that person.

You could call me an escapist and to a large extent, yes I am, but I also realize it is time that we educated citizens raise our voices and speak about child sexual abuse. It is a menace that can no longer be overlooked and it is a burning issue that cannot be brushed under the carpet. Remember if we continue to ignore this it will leave us singed forever.

Maybe it is just me but I believe that there are more reports on Child sexual abuse now than ever. Is it just that the incidents have increased or that more and more people who face such abuse are coming forward to report such instances?  I would say it is a mix of both.  It is heartening to note that people no longer keep shut about reporting these incidents unlike in earlier years where people used to, for the fear of bringing shame in the family, leave such incidents unreported.

While researching on this subject I came across a government sponsored study on sexual abuse cases in India and here are some of the findings on Sexual abuse.

  • 53.22% children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse
  • 21.90% child respondents reported facing severe forms of sexual abuse and 50.76% other forms of sexual abuse.
  •  Out of the child respondents, 5.69% reported being sexually assaulted.
  • Children on street, children at work and children in institutional care reported the highest incidence of sexual assault.
  • 50% abuses are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility.
  • Most children did not report the matter to anyone.

 

More than half of the kids from 13 states that were part of the survey have faced some sort of sexual abuse. Even 22% facing severe form of abuse is alarming for me being a mother of two kids.

What is more worrying is the fact that only 6% of these kids reported being assaulted while most children did not report the matter to anyone. One fact that we all know and yet we ignore comes across loudly and clearly in point 7 which is that 50% abusers are known to the child.

 

Yes this survey scares me. To read such hard hitting facts after deliberately keeping my eyes wide shut to this managed to get me all worked up. Why am I hiding? What am I hiding from? I must face this issue head on if I want my children safe from falling into this statistic, sounds crude, but that’s the way it is.

 

Various policy changes suggestions come to mind when I read such reports most importantly setting up some fast track courts to hear such cases, swift punishment to the guilty and yes the police and judiciary being more sympathetic to the victim. But here I will speak as a mother and what as parents we can do to ensure that our children are safe.   

 

  • Make yourself visible.  Ask lots of questions even if your child feels you are nagging him/her when you leave your child in the care of another person. Be sure to ask questions when you retrieve your child as well, in front of whomever cared for them.  Any child molester who sees this level of parent involvement will certainly think twice before committing an act. The same rules apply for an outing, overnight stay at a friend’s. It is very important as a parent to be totally thorough with the details before agreeing to send the child out for such trips.

 

  • If you notice any of the ‘easy target’ symptoms present in your own child, take steps to start working on those.  If you have a child who is particularly shy, start arranging different play dates and opportunities for her to overcome his/her shyness.  If you notice a child with low self esteem, there is a lot of children’s books at your local library to help work on this.

 

  • Remember to shower your children with lots of love, affection and your valuable time. A child’s confidence level to see their parent involved increases several notches. Even to report such episodes it needs plenty of self confidence in a child to confide to his/her family, without getting into self-blame mode.

 

  • Make sure children are well attended while going to the bathroom in public places.  Also accompany the child to a public bathroom, rather than leaving him/her to fend for themselves.

 

  • Most importantly in my interactions with several parents, of teenage kids especially, I have realized parents find it difficult or are rather uncomfortable to discuss these issues with kids. It is time we sat back and relaxed, took a deep breath in and realize that this is an important matter to be discussed with the child and ensure it is understood else it could lead to complications later.

 

These are the very basic rules that we should follow as parents. Not that these are the only steps that need to be taken but these form the very crux of the communication matrix with your child.

 

As parents we would do anything to keep our children happy and give them memories that they will cherish forever, so why not include this subject as well in their growing up years to ensure just that!   

 

 

Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

April 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

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