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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Child Abuse in India: 5 shocking facts revealed by the UNICEF

Child Abuse in India: 5 shocking facts revealed by the UNICEF
Since ages, Indian families have been known for their patriarchal joint families who took care of their children with utmost care and concern. Especially known for staying together, no one ever considered the least possibility of child abuse. No one thought about the probability of a senior member from the family, sexually assaulting or raping a kid inside the walls of the same home.
While the Constitution of India guarantees many rights to children, neither are they used for a child’s benefit nor is the child considered as an individual who has his or her own thought process.

1. Major abuse reported between the age group of 5 to 11 years
Every second child reported facing emotional abuse. Until now, it was unknown that small children were the victims to sexual abuses in the family itself. Children being dependent on an elder person for their requirement were never considered as individuals who could talk for themselves. Their needs and desires to do or not do a particular thing were considered as childish behaviour, hence elders just neglected them which resulted to be the root cause of the problem.
2. Boys, as compared to girls are equally at risk of abuse
“You have a daughter, her safety is of utmost importance. Boys can take care of themselves”
These are some of the common statements that you hear from the society. Although girls and boys are at an equal risk of being abused, the latter is left outside at his own expense. Women’s rape cases being reported more and discussed more in media, issues of men are usually sidelines. The topic being a sensitive one everyone likes discussing a rape case which has been blown up by the media. The UNICEF report says that out of 69% children who are physically abused in family situations in 13 sample states, 54.68% were boys. Equal percentage of both boys and girls faced reported facing emotional abuse.
3. Persons in trust and authority are major abusers, mostly parents
Out of the children physically / sexually abused in family situations, 88.6% were physically abused by parents. 83% of cases reported parents were their emotional abusers.
Indians known for their families being closely knit and having extended family, everyone in the family was believed to be taking care and showering love to the kids in the family. Senior family members were given immense respect which usually led to their taking undue advantage. Nobody ever suspected them or considered them to do such a brutal act, which usually resulted.
4. 48.4% girls wished they were boys
In a country where birth of a baby girl is not a day for celebration, this alarming figure should not scare the crowd. The cultural preference to boys in Indian families as they are believed to take ahead the family’s heritage, it is common for a girl to think that she should have been born as a girl and not a boy. Everything from a girl’s clothes, looks, behaviour gets easily judged, while boys do not have to go through the scrutiny.
With all the love and fondness being enjoyed by boys at large, girls automatically consider themselves to be inferior to men. In these situations, it is very likely for a girl to wish to be a boy rather than live under constant pressure.
5. Most children reported the issue to no one
Fear is one of the major cause of this problem. After passing through horrific sexual, physical or emotional abuse, children are not really sure how to explain the details to their parents. Emotionally weak from inside after being victims to these horrendous acts, children usually keep quiet and don't reveal anything even to their trusted people. Often children do not know how to explain the act while they know it was a shameful one.
The report says that considering the alarming data, it is of national importance that the issue should be given greater priority. Although there are laws and policies to make the world a better place for children, nothing credible has emerged out of it. There should be a larger movement to ensure the safety of children in the country.
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Dr. Sanjay Chugh
Senior Consultant Psychiatrist
S-132, Greater Kailash Part 2, New Delhi - 110048 (INDIA)
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