The Sexual Assault Bill 2010 has created a positively agitated ambience across the length and breadth of nation. The non-profit sector has been acting responsibly and has made commendable and persistent efforts over a period of three decades to arrive at the juncture of law amendment. The Sexual Assault Bill is definitely an augury for a safer and secure society. But an important question that arises is does this law completely suffice the need? How much would it aid in stopping sexual abuse of children at domestic set ups? Are the children really safe?
The bitterest of facts the Study on child abuse India 2007 by the Ministry of Woman and Child Development had bought into light is that 53.22% of Indian children faced sexual abuse in one or the other forms. One of the findings point out a very low percentage of disclosure, in fact most of them did not report the matter to any one. Most of the times the perpetrator is from the family and unfortunately some times it is the parents themselves.
Indeed it is really hard to believe because the society has been using the defence mechanism of denial. A person I know (I could have mentioned the name, but it is a fairly good common noun to fit in all possible cases encompassing both genders, all the regions geographically and all other classifications) was interviewed by Marie Claire where she disclosed the turmoil she has been facing as a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse. The perpetrator was a neighbour and the abuse started when the kid was just two years old. It continued till the kid was eleven and the perpetrator was twenty six and was getting married. The perpetrator himself was a kid when the abuse started.
So what did he learn from the family system, from the school system? Didn’t our society inculcate morals and virtues in him? Yes, it did but not completely. It might have taught him how to behave in public, but not when he had a two year old girl with him in a closed room. The topic of sex and sexuality has remained hush fully silent and taboo associated. We don’t give enough information to take an informed decision in these matters. But children always learn about sex mostly from other peers and wrong means. The information is not proof read and mostly vulgar. If such vocabulary is used at home, we first panic and then punish. The tenderness and care is also needed here, not just screaming and slapping. They directly hurt the mind, and kids remain silent when something harmful happens.
Along with law amendments, extensive sex education programs are the need of the hour. The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ stands here as a golden rule. School and family institutions must open up and be emotionally available to address the biological curiosity of children. It’s the responsibility of them to ensure them a healthy life, both physical as well as mental.
Childhood days are supposed to be the happiest times in one’s life, lets us not make it a nightmare for our kids.
Narendra Verma Killada