In their second outing after taking on female foeticide, Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate touched on the disturbing topic of child sexual abuse. It’s a topic which gets shoved under the rug not only in our country but all around the world. Child sexual abuse is rampant and according to statistics, 53% kids are sexually abused in India!
This statistic will send shivers down our spines but we were probably just living in an illusion if we truly believed that child sexual abuse wasn’t out there. Most perpetrators are paedophiles who know the children, mostly a relative. Of these 21% are serious cases, which involve abnormal petting, sodomy, forcing a child to exhibit his private parts, disrobing a child or photographing a child in the nude, the other 31% crimes which are considered less severe fall under sexual advances or being forced to watch porn. He also highlighted the fact, no place is safe including one’s home as he highlighted the case of a tutor who had abused his ward.
Then he highlighted the case of Cinderella Prakash who talked about her horrible experiences about a relative who abused her. What is shocking is the fact that it was someone who was completely trusted by her parents. There is no gender bias attached to child sexual abuse and Harish Iyer’s case is a prime example. He laid bare the horrific tale of his abuse that went for 11 long years and started when he was only seven. His perpetrator was a maternal relative who would often give him baths when he was naked. Soon, this sexual assault escalated and he was abused anally, which would often leading to bleeding. His mother too lamented the fact that she didn’t stand up for her son when he really needed her. The abuse finally stopped when he turned 18 and stood up to the offender. You can read Harish’s blog here.
Anuja Gupta, a sex abuse counsellor explained the apathy faced by children who try to talk to their parents about sex abuse. She urged parents to believe their children when the discuss delicate matters like these and to tell them that they did the right thing. She added that confrontation is necessary even if the perpetrator is a family member. Child sex abuse simply mustn’t be shoved under the rug. You can find out more about her work by clicking here.
Dr Rajat Mitra tried to explain the psyche of the paedophile explaining that he/she had no form of guilt, seem to be under the impression that children enjoy it and are very conscious of their actions. The shocking thing is it’s hard to identify a paedophile, they look and act like everyone else and the only common feature is that they seem to have a way with children with the ability to entertain them and the get their confidence.
Nishit Kumar of Child Line (1098) told everyone how they get 25 lakh calls every year dealing with child abuse. He said that help was at hand 24/7 and all one needed to do was dial 1-0-9-8.
He also highlighted the fact that there are no laws to deal with it. Our comprehensive constitution simply has no laws to deal with child sex abuse. This leads to various loopholes that can allow the perpetrator to esscape. For example if a child has been forced to indulge in oral sex instead of traditional penetration, then by the letter of the law hasn’t been abused at all. He also showed how the victims are badly treated, be it in the courtroom, by the media or the hospital, which leads to double victimisation.
Workshop for children
Since sexual abuse is hard to explain to kids, Aamir conducted a workshop to explain to children how to identify paedophiles. He showed children three out-of-bound areas (chest, genitals and anus) that no adult is supposed to touch except for a child’s parents or a doctor. He urged the children to scream anytime something like this happened and simply run to a safe area.
In the end, he urged people to write in to support a Child Sex Abuse law which is currently awaiting implementation in the Rajya Sabha. In fact as an added attraction Aamir roped in Sridevi to surprise Harish Iyer, who was overwhelmed when he came face to face with his childhood heartthrob.
You can check the study on Child Sex Abuse conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development here.
The first episode has already had a strong impact on several state governments. The show has had a strong impact on various state governments. In MP, 65 MTP (medical termination of pregnancy) licenses were suspended because they hadn’t submitted the necessary documents. The Rajasthan government also cancelled the licenses of six sonography centres. Yesterday, the Lok Sabha passed the bill which will help curb child sex abuse.