Sexual Abuse in Women with Special Reference to Children: Barriers, Boundaries and Beyond

By Behere, P.; Rao, T. Sathyanarayana et al. | Indian Journal of Psychiatry, October-December 2013 | Go to article overview

Sexual Abuse in Women with Special Reference to Children: Barriers, Boundaries and Beyond


Behere, P., Rao, T. Sathyanarayana, Mulmule, Akshata, Indian Journal of Psychiatry


Byline: P. Behere, T. Sathyanarayana Rao, Akshata. Mulmule

Introduction

Manu Smruti described about women values in ancient time - " Yatr naaryastu pujayante ramante tatr devtaa ," that is Gods abound where women are honored, this was the ancestral enchanting in the land of Bharatvarsha (India) where gory heinous crimes against women and specially children are on rise these days. [sup][1]

It is said that sexual abuse is the most common and threatening behavior calculated to induce fear in all women, it means men have chosen to maintain control over women. Rape is the fastest growing crime in the country. [sup][2] Rape occurs in India every twenty minutes. [sup][3]

Ministry of Women and Child Development concluded that 53.22% of children reported having faced sexual abuse of which 21.90% faced severe form. [sup][4] Sexual abuse in children refers to sexual behavior between a child and an adult or between two children when one of them is significantly older or uses coercion. More than 70% of abusers are immediate family members and close acquaintance. [sup][5] There is hence a need to focus the enquiry on children. The perpetrator and the victim may be same sex or opposite sex. The sexual behaviors include touching breast, buttocks and genitals, whether the victim is dressed or undressed; exhibitionism; fellatio; cunnilingus and penetration of the vagina or anus with sexual organs or object. Sexual abuse may involve behavior over an extended time or a single incident. In addition to the form, inappropriate sexual touching, sexual abuse also refers to sexual exploitation of children for instance, conduct or activities related to pornography depicting minors promoting or trafficking in prostitution of minors. [sup][6]

It is not just a phenomenon by itself but also has very serious and long lasting impact as psychological disturbances. Thus, ranges from anxiety to sexual dysfunction or post-traumatic stress disorder that follow sexual abuse. Research so far has concentrated on sexual crimes against women in the reproductive age. There is increasing incidences of sexual abuse in children today. This area is very sensitive. We should be receptive for early identifications and prevention of such incidences in girls in the community.

How Big is the Problem?

Child abuse in one or another form has existed in almost all societies throughout the history however, recognition of child abuse as a social problem is of recent origin. The research on child sexual abuse (CSA) in India has not received much attention this due to low reporting of victims . Nearly, 53% of children faced some amount of sexual abuse; among them 52.94% were boys and 47.06% girls. The significant finding was that contrary to the general perception, the overall percentage of boys was much higher than that of girls. Across the country, every second child is being subjected to one or other forms of sexual abuse and every fifth child is facing severe forms of sexual abuse. [sup][4]

A total of 33,098 cases of sexual crime against children were reported in country in 2011 as compared to 26,694 in 2010 it means increase by 24%. Number of cases under procuration of minor girls increased from 679 (2010) to 862 in 2011, i.e., increase by 27%. A total of 7,112 cases of child rape were reported in country during 2011 as compared to 5,484 in 2010, increase by 29.7%. Sexual abuse is highest in Madhya Pradesh (1,262) followed by Uttar Pradesh (1,088) and Maharashtra (818). [sup][7]

In 2011, more than 24 thousand cases were reported - about 70 a day. New figures released by the Delhi Police reveals that a woman is raped every 18 h or molested every 14 h. [sup][8] There are 80,000 pending rape cases in India and nearly 1,000 rape cases are pending in Delhi courts. [sup][9]

Off late, we have seen some cases of CSA in Wardha district which is again a very traumatic event. The cases are yet to start in court. …

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