Child sex abuse is, regrettably, still a part of many children’s day to day lives, be it at home, at school, or in the local neighborhood. It is able to persist because it is rarely discussed, and many people are not aware of how to identify the signs that there might be an issue, or how to confront what will always be a difficult subject.
Many elders brush the idea off, or perhaps they are reluctant to think that a child’s behavioral inconsistencies might be a result of sexual abuse, rather than them simply being a “difficult child”.
It is easy to forget that children, like adults, have problems, issues, and social awkwardness which can prevent them from expressing or even coming to terms with abuse. It is also not uncommon for children to have a very poorly developed understanding of whether or not something is abuse.
This understanding starts with the family. Sex education, and an awareness of the potential for abuse from people, both strangers and not, is an absolutely vital part of any child’s upbringing. Also, with an awareness, in both boys and girls, of when to say no, and how important it is to respect that, we can hope to address some of other issues we have in our society.
And healthy children makes healthy future societies and so on.
The Bangalore Vibjyor school sex abuse case is a reality check for the parents I presume. One of the major points, in fact worry, in that case is how the 6 year old child did not speak a word about two major violation of her rights to her own parents. One being locked up in a dark room as a punishment for misbehavior which itself is not acceptable and another being sexually abused in that room later. It is a sad fact that the child did not feel comfortable speaking out about what she went through without the fear of being judged by people around her, even her own parents. The child inevitable felt she had done something wrong. And to add on this taking a step back the school authority’s irresponsible hiring of a serial child offender without doing any background check is appalling. And then it turns out there have been complaints before as well in the past which was covered up by the school authorities which to my mind is a serious crime. And parents who take part in covering up such abuses against their children to save their face and what they say “protect their children’s face” is taking part in this crime silently.
Just like how we saw in the Delhi Gang rape case, issues on our growing comfortably living middle class where most of us belong to, such cases do get reported and discussed and public emotional outcries do happen. But when we really take a step back and think about it children from impoverished and rural areas are violated considerably more and abused repeatedly in neighborhoods, their own homes and schools. Such incidents are never reported or discussed and there is hardly any awareness either.