Child abuse home truths

Every day, 55 children are raped in India. More than one lakh cases of sexual crimes against children are pending before the courts, according to National Crime Records Bureau data from 2016, due to which a victim in Delhi or Bihar will have to wait till 2029 for justice. In Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, victims in 2016 can hope for justice in 2026; in Maharashtra, a victim has to wait till 2032. In Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh, with the current pace of slow justice delivery, children victimised in 2016 should not think of justice before 2071.

By S.M. Shahbaz in Patna
  • Published 21.06.18
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Patna: Every day, 55 children are raped in India. More than one lakh cases of sexual crimes against children are pending before the courts, according to National Crime Records Bureau data from 2016, due to which a victim in Delhi or Bihar will have to wait till 2029 for justice. In Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, victims in 2016 can hope for justice in 2026; in Maharashtra, a victim has to wait till 2032. In Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh, with the current pace of slow justice delivery, children victimised in 2016 should not think of justice before 2071.

This was pointed out by the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation, established by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, which on Wednesday released a report, "Awareness and perceptions about child sexual abuse among young adults in India 2018".

The Foundation pointed out that in three years - 2013 to 2016 - crimes against children have increased by 84 per cent.

Against this backdrop, the Foundation's survey found that three out of four young, educated adults do not know what child sexual abuse is. Very few of them are aware that hurling lewd comments at women - better known as "eve-teasing" in India - is a crime.

A total of 987 respondents were surveyed in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses in 10 educational institutions such as Banaras Hindu University, Jamia Millia Islamia, and University of Kerala.

According to the survey, when asked what constitutes sexual abuse as per the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, many failed to answer correctly. The majority of them did not know that even staring is a kind of abuse. Only 37 per cent of male respondents supported educating children on sexual abuse - a typical apprehension being that too much information would expose children to too much detail about sex and sexuality. Among women, that figure was 49 per cent.

Over one-third - 35 per cent - of the female respondents said they had experienced sexual abuse when they were below 18 years of age. Among males that figure was 25 per cent.