Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine

Sexual Abuse in 8-Year-Old Child: Where Do We Stand Legally?

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine

Sexual Abuse in 8-Year-Old Child: Where Do We Stand Legally?

Article excerpt

Byline: Prakash. Behere, Akshata. Mulmule

We have reporting herein two cases of victims of sexual abuse, both 8 years old girls, both presented with symptoms of irritability, withdrawn behavior, fearfulness, anxiety, and abusive language toward family members. These symptoms appeared following sexual abuse. We are highlighting early identifications of child sex abuse and discussed the legal aspects of child abuse and "protection of children from sexual offences act" 2012. Finally, we have discussed how to prevent such incidences including incorporating school awareness programs in targeted girls' group.

Introduction

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is the term describing criminal offences in which an adult engages in sexual activity with a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification. More than 70% of abusers are immediate family members and close acquaintance. [sup][1] The Ministry concluded that 53.22% of children faced sexual abuse, of which 21.90% faced severe form in 2007. [sup][2] The perpetrator and the victim may be of the same sex or of opposite sex. The sexual behaviors include touching breast, buttocks, and genitals, exhibitionism, fellatio, cunnilingus, and penetration of the vagina or anus with sexual organs or object. Sexual abuse also refers to sexual exploitation of children. [sup][3]

Earlier, it was believed that there were no CSA in India. In India, many cases of sexual abuse are unreported or covered or protected in the family itself.

With time, awareness has increased and cases are surfacing out. We are presenting herein two cases of 8-year-old girls who were sexually abused and the consequences of the abuse and prevention strategies.

Magnitude of problem

WHO estimated that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 years of age experienced forced sexual intercourse. [sup][4] Highest prevalence of CSA was in Africa (34.4%) and Europe (9.2%). U.S.A and Asia had prevalence rates between 10.1% and 23.9%, respectively. [sup][5]

In India, 53% of children faced sexual abuse, including 52.94% boys and 47.06% girls as reported in Study in 2007. In 50% of cases, the abuser was in a relationship of trust with the child. Every second child is being subjected to some forms of sexual abuse and every fifth child is facing severe forms of sexual abuse. [sup][2] A total of 33,098 cases of sexual crimes against children were reported in 2011 and 26,694 cases in 2010 increase by 24%. Cases under procuration of minor girls increased from 679 in 2010 to 862 in 2011. Sexual abuse is highest in Madhya Pradesh (1,262 cases), followed by Uttar Pradesh (1,088 cases) and Maharashtra (818 cases). These states account for 44.5% of total child rape cases. [sup][6]

Rape occurs in India every 20 min. [sup][7] In 2011, more than 24000 cases were reported (70/day). Delhi police reveals that a woman is raped every 18 hours or molested every 14 hours. The conviction rate is extremely low (26%) in India. [sup][8] There are 80,000 pending rape cases in India in 2011. [sup][9] Nearly 963 pending rape cases in Delhi courts in 2011. [sup][10]

Case Reports

Case 1

DB, a 8-year-old girl, studying in fourth grade and from the Wardha District, was brought in April 2012. Her mother reported change in behavior in form of irritability, withdrawn behavior, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, using abusive language toward parents and younger brother for the past 1 month. These symptoms succeeded the sexual abuse by a 60-year-old local milkman from the same village a couple of days back. Her mother accidently noticed a 20 rupees note in her school bag and during enquiry incidence of sexual abuse was revealed. The milkman used to tie her hands and gag her mouth and lured her by giving her money and abused her. The family lodged a police complaint and brought the girl to us for assessment and management. Police undertook medico-legal formalities prior to bringing her to us. …

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