Girl Child Sexual Abuse: Comparative Study

TC:19

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Abstract

Human rights are those
rights which individuals inherit from their birth which are protected by the
law. The human rights of female
children in India and elsewhere, even when protected on paper, are violated in
practice. An equitable and egalitarian world order must be established. A
comprehensive campaign is needed that combats gender-based inequalities,
discrimination, exploitation, oppression, abuse, violence, inhuman values, and
violations of human rights, particularly against female children. People must
radically change their attitudes and actions towards female children. Female
children are not a commodity or sex-object but “an equally worthy human
being to be loved, respected, and cared for.” Strategies that accomplish
these ends include the promotion of human and spiritual values of love,
compassion, and non-violence. Effective education and mass media should counter
corruption, dishonesty, selfishness, and inhuman actions. Family structures
need to strengthened and enriched. The abuse of female children occurs due to
the following interrelated factors: the perpetuation of traditions and
practices that identify girls as inferior to boys, the gender-biased and
discriminatory attitude that identifies girl children as a burden or liability
and as a sex-object or commodity, and prevalent illiteracy, poverty, and
negative parenting life style patterns. Other factors include the low status of
women, the reduction in human and spiritual values, and the rise of corruption.
Girls are subjected to female infanticide, feticide, lack of social and
economic development, burdensome domestic work, early marriage and
childbearing, neglect and denial of healthy living conditions, sexual abuse and
exploitation, prostitution, rape, and a denial of their right to protection. This
paper will focus on girl child sexual abuse, the laws.

 

 

Key Words: Sexual abuse
of female children, Laws, sexual
violence.

 

 

 

Introduction

Child sexual abuse has been recognised as a social malaise, prevalent
within and outside homes and among all socio-economic strata in the South Asia
region. Child sexual abuse exposes a child to severe mental, physical and
psychological risks with consequences such as depression, fear, and low
self-esteem. But, as a social problem it remains an unexplored area. In the
last few decades commercial sexual exploitation of children has received much
attention, but child sexual abuse is yet to receive due attention form the
concerned authority. While dealing with the issue. All the south Asian region
is concerned with this issue and trying to spread awareness in the region. The
south Asian strategies against commercial sexual exploitation of children and
child sexual abuse endorsed by all South Asian countries also stressed the
critical need for research and awareness raising on the issue of child sexual
abuse in the region.

Research Methodology:

We used secondary methodology like books, web, article, etc. This paper
is based on the doctrinal approach. 

Objectives of Study:

The goals of the present study are to contribute towards providing a
safer learning environment in different localities where all girls can exercise
the right to protection against child sexual abuse along with their right to
quality primary education. The specific object includes:

·        
Increase the
national knowledge base through reliable quantitative and qualitative data on
the level of understanding of child sexual abuse among school children and out
of school children in the two nations.

·        
Raise
awareness on the issue of child sexual abuse among different stakeholders to
create a safer environment for children.

·        
Recommend
future strategies and interventions for improving the services and support
mechanisms for children.

 

 

Scope and Limitation of Research:

We get statistics from books and NGO’s or either web which always does
survey. Conducting a survey is never easy. There can be many resources in
errors of data; sensitivity of the issue adds to that problem. Out of fear,
especially girls, may not report sexual abuse they might have suffered despite
the assurance of confidentiality. Some children after seeing the questionnaire
may answer them by imagination rather than actual truth. Other children might
be ignorant of what was happening to them. All these can lead to inaccurate
data; however, with large samples these errors can be extended. Some girls
blushed and felt embarrassed while filling out the questions while some girls
ticked ‘no’ to first questions on experience but then answered the following
questions as if they had experienced sexual abuse.

Analysis:

Child sexual abuse is a
form of child abuse in which a child is abused for the sexual gratification of
an adult or older adolescent. It includes direct sexual contact, the
adult or otherwise older person engaging indecent exposure (of the genitals,
female nipples, etc.) to a child with intent to gratify their own sexual
desires or to intimidate or groom the child, asking or pressuring a child to
engage in sexual activities, displaying pornography to a child, or using a
child to produce child pornography.

Effects of child sexual
abuse include shame, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress
disorder, self-esteem issues, self-injury, suicidal idealisation
and propensity to re-victimization in adulthood. Child sexual abuse
is a risk factor for attempting suicide. Much of the harm caused to
victims becomes apparent years after the abuse happens.

Sexual abuse by a family
member is a form of criminal congress, and results in more serious and
long-term physiological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest.

 Globally, 18–19% (approx.) of women disclose being
sexually abused when they were children. The gender gap may be caused by higher
victimization of girls, lower willingness of men to disclose abuse, or both. Most
sexual abuse violators are exculpated with their victims and usually 30% are relatives
of the child, most often fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other
acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbours;
strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases.
Most child sexual abuse is committed by men; women commit approximately 14% of
offenses reported against boys and 6% of offenses reported against
girls. Child sexual abuse offenders are not paedophiles unless they
have a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children.

Who are the abusers?

 Two third of respondents who knew about
incidences of sexual abuse among their friends reported that the sexual abusers
were tourists and foreigners. It appears that the leader of street children are
also often sexual abusers. Many abusers were reported to be men. These women
were reported to be foreign tourists. Our respondents told us that they were
involved in sexual affairs with female tourists while acting as guides or on
trekking routes and were provided with good remuneration.

·       
Nepal and
India Comparison:

Child sexual abuse laws in India: have been enacted as part of the nation’s child
protection. The Parliament
of India passed the “Protection
of Children Against Sexual Offences Bill, 2011” regarding child
sexual abuse on May 22, 2012
into Act. 53% percent of children in India face some form of child sexual
abuse. There have been many calls for more stringent laws.

Goa Children’s Act, 20051, was
the only specific piece of child abuse legislation before the 2012 Act. Child sexual
abuse was prosecuted under the following sections of Indian
Penial Code:

·        
I.P.C. (1860) 375- Rape

·        
I.P.C. (1860) 354- Outraging the
modesty of a Woman

·        
I.P.C. (1860) 377- Unnatural offences

 

·        
Indian
Cases:

1.     
Sakshi v. Union
of India2:

“the Sakshi case, the
Court ordered the Law Commission of India to examine and respond to the issues
that Sakshi raised. This exercise culminated in the 172nd Report of the Law
Commission of India (on review of rape laws, March 2000). The Report suggested
that the offence of “rape” be substituted by “sexual
assault,” making the offence gender-neutral and applicable to a range of
sexual offences other than forcible penile/vaginal penetration.”

2.     
M.Veersamy Vs. State of Tamil Nadu3:
“Child Sexual Abuse happens because the
system of silence around the act perpetuates it. Child Sexual Abuse represses children; the repression of children is
unlikely to create a flourishing society, economically, emotionally, equally or
spiritually.”

·        
Cases in
Nepal:

 

1.     
Sexual abuse case of Sanjaya:

 “Sanjaya, 15, is from a Chhetri family from
Rautahat district. He was sold to a hotel owner by his aunt where he worked for
about two years and came to the street of Bastantapur where he survived by
stealing and begging. He told us one day a foreigner came to me and asked me to
accompany him. He said that he was a social activist working with children. I
went to his place and spent one year at his place where there were 15/16 other
children including girls. The man used to give us good food, sleeping place and
medicine if we were sick. He was a yogen. He used to kiss and lick us and asked
us to masturbate him. He also used to do anal sex. He used to give us Rupees.
100 to 200 per act depending upon the sexual activities. After one year of
living there, I do not know why he was arrested by police and I was taken to a
rehabilitation centre.”

                                              

 

India

India is home to 430
million children which is approximately includes one in every five children
below the age of 18 years4, in the world. They face
staggering challenges from the day they are born. Malnutrition, illiteracy,
trafficking, forced labour, drug abuse, sexual abuse pornography etc. are not
uncommon among the children in India.

 The paper particularly deals with the problem
of child sexual abuse in India. Child sexual abuse includes physical or
psychological maltreatment of a child usually by a person who is in a position
of trust and confidence in relation to the child. The person uses the child for
sexual stimulation or for sexual gratification. National study undertaken by
the Ministry of Women and child development defined ‘sexual assault’ as making
the child fondle with his/her private parts or making the child exhibit private
body parts and being photographed in the nude.

 However, the report did not exhibit the true
reality because most of the cases go unreported because of the stigma attached
to it in our society. A study conducted by the UNICEF after the 2012 Delhi gang
rape revealed that one in every three rape cases, the victim is a child and
these incidences are increasing at an alarming rate. Approximately 7200 girl
children including infants are raped every year which is an issue of serious
concern.

Nepal

The child is below or equal to 16 years in Nepal. In
Nepal one rape case takes place in every 54 minutes as reported by “The women’s
foundations of Nepal.” The criminal mindset within the human being is the prime
cause behind such violence against children and women both in rural and urban
areas. A survey report on child sexual abuse
in Kathmandu Valley has quantified what society has tried to sweep under the
carpet for so long. Based on a random sample of nearly 5,500 school children
and over 200 out-of-school children, the survey looks at physical sexual abuse
of children as well as the prevalence of exposure of children to obscene
materials and verbal abuse. 

Children in the 11-14 age group were found to be most vulnerable with nearly 15
percent of the girls and 13 percent of the boys admitting that they had been
sexually abused. Girls reported more abuse at home, school or market, while
boys were mostly abused at the home of the perpetrator. The rate of abuse among
street children was the highest with most having sexual relations with multiple
partners of different ages and both genders.

 

The flaws in the justice
system:

 It is very critical to say anything about what
happens after a child has been sexually abused which holds significance not
only for his/her well-being but also for the protection of other children,
because if the perpetrator is never identified or if/she allowed to move free,
there are high chances of further abuse. Sometimes, the complaints of the
children are simply rejected by the family members, Police and the medical
experts. In most of the cases, the perpetrator is often a family member, or a
person entrusted with care and custody of the child. In such cases, the child
would refrain from speaking up because of constant threat of the family
members. In a case before the Delhi court, the accused was convicted for having
abducted and raped a 6-year girl who was member of his family. The accused has
earlier raped another girl of his family, but the case was not reported because
of the stigma attached as the family members believe that reporting a case will
bring shame to their family. Also, there have been cases where the mothers
didn’t take any action because of fear of being thrown out of the house by the
in-laws. In other cases, the family members fear of being ostracized from the
society. One of the most significant reasons why families don’t come forward to
report the cases of child sexual abuse because they think that they will not be
treated sympathetically by the police and the medical experts which further
adds to their trauma. Many doctors in India lack the competence to take such
sensitive cases. Their role should include treating child well and counselling
her. Police officials also try to persuade the parties to take back their
cases. Sometimes courts also drag cases for years. This shows the inability of
our criminal justice system to deal with the sexual offences with minor which
is a highly sensitive issue. So, even though there are laws in paper, but they
aren’t protected in real life.

Conclusion:

This study concurs with other western studies which indicate that CSA
transcends across all socio-economic group. It is therefore important that
effective preventive strategies are developed and implemented that will cross
across all socio-economic groups.

Young
adults remain the most vulnerable group, so education
related to sex, morality, humanity and different life skills training should be
provided to these groups from their school years itself. The benefits of early
intervention and comprehensive care of survivors with the use of standardized
protocols along with shorter and lesser traumatic period of court processing to
the survivors of these cases should be encourage. This article includes
information regarding the age of the victim at the time of sexual abuse,
relationship of the victim to the perpetrator, genital and extra-genital
injuries present over the victim’s body.

Suggestions:

A holistic intervention
strategy should be launched to prevent child sexual abuse and provide
psycho-social and legal support to the survivors of child sexual abuse. The
prevention and support should include various target groups such as children’s
group, guardians, and teachers, child rights organisations and the government.

1 Inserted by
Goa Children’s(Amendment) Act 2005

2 Sakshi v. India and
ors, Final Decision on Writ Petition, Writ Petition (Crl) No33, 1997, with SLP
(Crl) Nos 1672-1673, 2000; ILDC 868 (IN2004).

3  2012 (1) LW (Crl) 554, 2012 (3)
CTC 641

 

4 Section 3
of The Majority Act, 1875