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Protect your kids, study tells parents

Aizawl, Oct. 29: Parents in Mizoram need to be more aware of their responsibility towards protecting and guiding their children and wards in the prevailing atmosphere of rampant paedophilia.

This was the first recommendation made by a research study titled Study on Child Sexual Abuse in Mizoram which was released here on October 26.

The research was funded by the social welfare department and undertaken by Rohmingthangi — a teacher from the department of history in Pachhunga University College — on behalf of Human Rights and Law Network (HRLN).

The period studied is between 2003 and 2009. Of the total number of cases studied, 17.31 per cent are children aged up to five. This includes rape among other forms of abuse.

The main research query was “why rape happens in Mizoram,” and a detailed study on backgrounds of the victims and those of the perpetrators to give parents, guardians and society tips on safeguarding them from the child predators.

The study calls for more awareness on the concept of child right and recommended NGOs like Mizoram Hmeichhe Insuikhawm Pawl (MHIP), a women’s federation which had formed a committee, to fight rape. Such steps are required along with counselling and rehabilitation of the victims, the report said.

A disturbing finding of the research and one which reflects on the judiciary is that among the perpetrators of rape there are repeat offenders. The research has also criticised the attitude of traditional village leaders and even some NGOs for trying to settle the matter by pressuring the victims’ side to forgive and forget.

At the same time, many elders of families prefer to keep the matter hidden fearing stigmatisation. The concept of punishment for a crime is yet to sink into local society. This requires a change as it encourages the abusers and leaves the child even more traumatised.

Another finding which badly shows up lack of childcare in families is the fact that 86.88 per cent of the child victims suffer repeated abuse and majority of the abusers are close relatives, including eight cases involving biological fathers and also some teachers.

The study said victims were of both sexes though the girls outnumbered the boys. This showed that parents who are usually careful about their girl children should not be complacent about their boys who are usually left to roam around on their own.

More than 50 per cent of the rape cases studied involve both victims and perpetrators were middle school-level children. The study recommended that sex education be introduced in schools at this age so that they will be aware and be able to defend themselves by reading the danger signs. Interestingly the study found that most of the rapists were influenced by video porns. According to overall police records of such cases between 2003-2009 there were 435 cases of rape including rapes of minor.