Thursday, November 9, 2017

Child Sexual Abuse - Traits and effects

A friend of mine expressed dismay over where our teens are headed to quoting the Gurugram Ryan school murder update. A teenager from class 11 of the same school was under the scanner for the murder of a class 2 student. The motive for the crime – postponement of parent teacher meeting and exams.

I am no Sherlock Holmes to try and demystify this tangle.  But as a professional behavioral and career counselor for students and career professionals, I was forced to look back on the umpteen such challenges I have had in my encounter with the teens and post teens of the gen X. In this blog I will just focus on the challenges posed by CSA (Child sexual abuse).

Sex as such is a social taboo in India, and hence the growing intolerance towards all matters concerning sex.  Sexual harassment of children is not just the killing grounds of the sex maniacs and perverts. Today, sexual abuse of children is a harsh reality in India. Survey results point towards an incidence of 57% of children under 18 who have been sodomized at some point in their life. Roughly that adds up to more than 1 in every 2 child has been sodomized.

Image result for effects of child sex abuse

What is more ghastly, is the list of chilling facts below:
  • India has the world's largest number of Child Sexual Abuse cases: For every 155th minute a child, less than 16 years is raped, for every 13th hour child under 10, and one in every 10 children sexually abused at any point of time.
  • Of the total children sexually abused more than 95% have been abused by elders in their immediate circle of relatives, neighbors and friends.
  • Neighbors alone accounted for 36 percent of the cases.
  • 10 percent of the offenders were immediate family members and relatives. 
  • Of the children who were abused in family situations 89% were abused by their parents.
  • More than 60 percent of the children have reported the incidence to a senior member in the family whom they have trusted
  • More than 70 percent of such cases reported by the children to elders they trust were brushed under the carpet. The children were told to shut-up and forget the incident. Needless, to say conviction rate of the balance 30 percent cases which were reported into the criminal justice system is less than 3 percent.
  • In a female oppressed society it would not be easy to digest the fact that more than 10 percent of the sexual offenders were women – viva women power. They were either the actual people involved in the act or were a direct party to it.
  • Another fact causing indigestion is that the male to female gender ratio of the children sodomized is 55:45 that is in every 100 cases 57 were boys and 43 were girls. (In case you thought that most child abuse was done on girls – get rid of that myth)
In so many years of behavioral counseling with teens and post teens, I have somehow always witnessed traits which should have been noticed by family members, teachers, relatives and medical practitioners. Such traits could and should have led to investigations to determine if the child has had a difficult to forget sexual experience. Counseling and rehabilitation should have followed.

Thanks to the fact that such talk is taboo in our society has led to denial of the malaise itself. It is high time that society awakens and takes cognizance of the fact that we are responsible for this malaise, Partly because we are in denial and partly because our justice delivery system does little to initiate discussions leading to policy formulations to stem this rot.

On my part I list below a table of noticed and to be diagnosed traits of sexually abused children.

Symptomatic traits of sexually abused children:                
·   Higher sex awareness and display ( e.g soliciting for prostitution, proposing randomly to anybody etc.)
·   Low IQ
·   Low academic development
·   Withdrawal and absenteeism
·   Violent behavior arising out of short-tempered approach
·   Non confirmation to processes.
·   Random thoughts of negative perpetration
·   Scant regard for rules and laws
·   Lacking in expression
·   Low Communicative ability
·   Insecurity
·   Apprehensiveness
·   Reclusiveness
·   Introversion

·   Gastrointestinal problems
·   Genital issues
·   Urinary tract infection
·   Vaginal bleeding and infection
·   Menstrual irregularities
·   Early pregnancy

·   Anxiety
·   Short tempered
·   Low self esteem
·   Suicidal tendencies
·   Panic
·   Guilt
·   Depression
·   Self-image concerns
·   Eating disorders
·   Drug abuse
·   Negativity
Lack of emotional and cognitive development

What were the compulsions of such an arbitrary behavior by the teen child cited in the introduction of this blog, only time will tell (subject to proper investigations by the authorities), But one thing is for sure – If we fail to arrest this malaise we may have to face more such similar situations in the future (By no means are we suggesting that this was the case in the Gurugram Ryan school case)

We need to urgently secure the future of our gen X teens and contribute towards a healthier and more meaningful society. A safe environment for your loved ones and hence our country striding towards a golden future.

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