HYDERABAD: Therapy for pedophillically inclined individuals to guarantee continuous sexual self-control to prevent child sexual abuse Child Sexual Abuse is a “silent-violent epidemic” as described by the American Medical Association that requires urgent and unwavering attention. Daily news is rife with stories of children being abused. Recent child sexual abuse incidents present daunting circumstances. Sunil Rastogi, a 38-year-old tailor was arrested by police investigating sexual assaults on three girls aged between nine and 10 in eastern Delhi recently. Similarly, a four-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted in a private school in Bengaluru.
Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is a widespread global problem with grave life-long outcomes that affects not just the victim, but also the offender, the families and the communities that surround them. Globally there are 1.9 billion children i.e., 27 per cent of the world population affected by CSA. In India, Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) study done in 2007, has cited that 53.22 per cent of Indian children have faced some form of sexual abuse.
The number of offences registered under rape category under The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act. (POCSO) was up to 44per cent nationally in 2013. (2540 registered-2013 and 3858 registered in 2014).CSA is an extensive problem and even the lowest prevalence includes a huge number of victims. Two main issues have been identified that makes it difficult to estimate exactly how many children are victims of CSA. Firstly, the way abuse is defined plays an important role. Secondly, the cases reported by the official organizations usually underrate the number of victims as many cases never get reported.
There are many complicated circumstances surrounding the issue of CSA in India. A forbidding silence is at the root of this bane fuelled by fear of indignity, denial from the community, social stigma, and gap in communication between parents and children about this issue. Many instances of CSA don’t include penetrant sex, victims usually clean themselves following attack, and hence the medical investigation does not provide any evidence of sexual assault.
One of the causes of CSA is the condition of Pedophilia, in which a person’s sexual arousal and gratification depend on fantasizing about and engaging in sexual behaviour that is atypical and extreme. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Peadophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with children who are generally age 13 years or younger. Pedophiles are usually men and can be attracted to either or both sexes. How well they relate to adults of the opposite sex varies. Scientific data reveal that it manifests during puberty and remains stable for the further life – this is the reason why the inclined persons are aware of the problem and could prevent CSA by not acting out their fantasies concerning children.
The prevalence of peadophilic disorder is unknown, but the highest possible prevalence in the male population is approximately three to five per cent. The Charité – University Medicine, Berlin looks back on a 300-year history of excellence in world-class medicine. In 2005 the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine at Charite under the leadership of Dr. Klaus M. Beier, Professor, Director,of the institute started the “Prevention Project Dunkelfeld” which has now developed into a nationwide network of outpatient clinics in Germany providing treatment for self-identifying and help-seeking pedophiles and hebephiles who have not offended. It aims to help pedophillically inclined individuals to guarantee continuous sexual self-control to prevent child sexual abuse and child pornography consumption.
This “project” was created in collaboration with the Berlin agency Dark Horse, inspired by the question on how best to reach out to those who suffer from their sexual fantasies, or who have fears and/or apprehensions about making contact with the Prevention Network “Kein Täter werden” (Meaning: Don’t offend).Hear it from the words of a pedophile in Germany how this transformational therapy has helped him to return to a normal social setting.Ralph, 38, director says during his Pre-Therapy days, “The catalyst for my coming to this program is an assault I made on a girl over the internet. I asked her to send me pictures and that was the point that made me think, no, that’s enough, it can’t go on like this.”
How had it changed for him during therapy?
Ralph says, “The group sessions start with an opening up exercise. Then there is a topic that sometimes stems from something someone brought up during the opening round. At the end of the two hours there’s a closing round, where you reflect on what you can take with you from the two hours.”
He further adds, “And then the session comes to a close, sometimes with an assignment for something to do on your own in the course of the week, like writing a diary, for example. In therapy we learn to be more conscious of this vicious circle.”
And post-therapy, what has it been like?
“A year ago, I told my parents about it. After that my girlfriend found out – they had to find out, too--at first it came as a shock, especially for my mother. For my father it was perhaps not quite as bad. But our relationship was different for a while, disturbed in some way. They weren’t able to appreciate it the right way, didn’t understand that I didn’t need to grab every young girl, like every time a young girl appeared among our relatives or friends that they didn’t need to keep me away from them. It has since gotten better. They told me that I’m still their son. It seemed important to them to tell me that.”
Now the treatement is available in India
The Program for Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence (PPPSV) is a collaborative initiative of various institutions and professionals, funded and initiated by Bayer India, that aims to prevent sexual violence against women and children in India.
A collaborative initiative of King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Centre, Pune, Berlin Institute of Sexology at the Charité, and an advisory council of experts from India, the objective of PPPSV project is to enhance awareness generation activities and focus on prevention by treatment.
In this context, a free and confidential treatment will be offered for people seeking therapeutic help with their sexual preference for children and/or early adolescents. This treatment option will be restricted strictly to non-offenders.
Prevention through treatment is a program initiated under PPPSV to prevent child sexual abuse in India. Under PPPSV the one of the ways to fight an epidemic like child sexual abuse is by focusing on prevention. While it is crucial to spread awareness about CSA and teach children how to stay safe, we believe it is not enough. As a society it is also needed that the focus should be on preventing potential offenders from offending in the first place.
Towards this goal, KEM Hospital and Research Centre, Pune has taken up a step in setting up a treatment centre for non-offending, self-identified, help seeking paedophiles/hebephiles as the first phase of the project. The treatment scope is being implemented along with the collaboration partner The Dunkelfeld Project in Charité, Berlin.
(All personal information – name, age, profession – have been changed for publication )