Child Sexual Abuse And The Covid-19

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Child Sexual Abuse And The Covid-19

Introduction


Child sexual abuse (CSA) is one of the worst forms of child abuse and maltreatment. The term child sexual abuse is used to define a kind of abuse which may include an act of rape, sodomy, fondling a child’s genitals, exploitation through prostitution or using children to produce pornographic content.


The Indian Sub-continent is not new to the concept of Child sexual abuse. According to the data by the National Crime record Bureau, 109 children were sexually abused every day in India in 2018. There seems to be an alarming growth of violence against children. The Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 deals with offence of sexual abuse against children in India. The act is a comprehensive legislation which provides protection to children from all kind of sexual violence such as sexual harassment, penetrative sexual assault, using children for pornographic purposes etc.

 

CSA And Covid-19


The year 2020 has been a year of many drastic events, with the global pandemic compelling people to confine themselves to their respective households and limit their interaction. The Covid-19 virus seems to have many social implications. One such negative implication is the increase that is likely to occur in the cases of child sexual abuse. It is an accepted fact that in most of the child sexual abuse cases reported, 94 % of the perpetrators are known to the victims. Due to confinement within the household and constant exposure of the child to their abuser results in the increase of the child sexual abuse cases. Furthermore, CSA is one of the least reported forms of abuse due to a lot of reasons such as communication gap between the parents and the child, social stigma attached to such an abuse, not believing the child etc. The lockdown has resulted in the non-availability of basic transportation, health care service, education regarding any such kind of abuse. Due to these changes, the plight of the children of such violence has increased as they are not able to recognize and as well report such instances of abuse. Further the constant threat of abuse has an adverse impact on the mental health of the child.

 

Impact of CSA


The WHO in 2002 estimated that 73 million boys and 150 million girls under the age of eighteen years have experienced various forms of sexual violence. The child sexual abuse can have a lot of negative impact not only their physical well being but also affects the emotional, economic and educational development of a child.


Children of such abuse often suffer from physical injuries and often face chronic psychological impacts which may hinder the over-all development. Such consequences generally include Post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, guilt, denial and confusion, grief and lack of inclusion in day to day activities. Such children often resort to isolation and live under a constant fear. The long-term impacts of Child sexual abuse are equally problematic, victim often opt for substance abuse, or are liked to become perpetrators in the future. Such children are conditioned into accepting such behavior as ‘normal’ which often leads to a continuity of CSA across generations. The covid-19 has added to the already damaged mental health of the victims.

 

What can be done


No doubt the Corona pandemic has been an exhausting experience for everyone. But this time can be used as a positive opportunity to take care of our children. Firstly, the period can be utilized to educate children about concepts of gender, private body parts, body safety rules etc. Secondly, adults can use this learning process as an opportunity to develop a safe space for the children and encourage them to speak up. And lastly, children should be believed and not be belittled; aggressive behavior should not be adopted for those who speak up against such an abuse.


A BRIEF ABOUT RUBAROO


Rubaroo is an NGO that was formed to break the silences that surround the issue of Child Sexual Abuse and true to its name to confront the issue “face-to-face”.


Our mission is to be the change agent for reducing the incidence and the menace of Child Sexual Abuse in society through our safety, awareness and healing programmes.


We have launched a free children body-safety course for parents and caregivers. Click on the following link to know more: linktr.ee/rubaroo_in

 

NABEELA TAREEN
Volunteer at Rubaroo Breaking Silences Foundation

 

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