Shaurya was four when his parents separated. His father’s drug addiction was the reason for the separation. However, the court have let the father have Shaurya for two days a week. Shaurya’s mother started to notice that he looked drowsy every time he got back from his father’s. On further check-up, it was found that the child was being drugged and then sexually abusing him.
On finding about the abuse, the child’s sole custody was given to the mother. Now an eight-year-old Shaurya is an overactive child who acts up at times and keeps company with older people and leaves the house without telling his mother or grandparents. His behavioural problems only kept worsening till he was given regular counselling.
Anagha was 14 when her uncle touched her inappropriately. She did not know what she was supposed to do. After gathering courage, she told her mother who refused to believe her and accused her of having wrong notions. When it happened again, she did not tell anyone scared that no one will believe her. It took her mother finally witnessing the man groping her for the abuse to end. The mother was apologetic and destroyed. However, her initial reaction shows how most of the society and parents react to instances of abuse inside the family.
Child abuse is a reality of modern times. The horrifying part is that most of it are done by people known to the kids and immediate family. Studies have shown that 95% of abuse is done by people known to the kids. Even father or mother becomes the abuser in some cases. The lack of attachment, substance abuse, devaluation of moral values are cited to be major reasons for this. The unhealthy relationship between parents and kids often keep such matters in the closet.
The number of cases registered for offences against children shows an upward trend. In 2016, the total number of cases was 2,881 which rose to 3,478 in the year 2017. In 2018, 921 cases were registered till March. Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the number of cases registered is 2,122 in the year 2016. It rose to 2,697 in the year 2017. In 2018, 459 cases were reported in the first two months itself.
The lack of attention from a child’s parent when he/she goes to a nearby house to watch tv or play, trusting friends to take care of the child and even leaving the kids unattended and without monitoring can lead to abuse as a chance is provided in the platter for the abuser. “Giving opportunity for the abuser happens when parents become inattentive. At a time like this, parents should be aware of where their child is and who he/ she is spending time with. Being cautious is very important,” said Dr Elsie Oomen,psychiatrist.
The hypocrisy of preserving the ‘family dignity’ often protects the offenders. “ We have started to value and prioritize dignity and social stigma over protecting our own children. The offender is a prime example and the parents who fail to report the incident is also as responsible as the offender,” said Muhsina, a