Combating Child Sexual Abuse

We often hear about Child Sexual Abuse issues – but all such references appear merely as isolated incidents in the Newspaper. What’s worse is that no one seems to care about the long-term effects that it has on the victim. The decision-making bodies (the Government, the Judiciary and the Education system in particular) are apathetic to the issue and the icing on this sorry state of affairs is the lack of appropriate legal mechanism to tackle the issue. There is NO LAW that makes the sexual abuse of a child a legally punishable offense.

I am associated with an Elaan – an NGO started by a friend.

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Elaan was founded in 2004 as part of an endeavor to encourage dialogue on the issues of child sexual abuse (CSA) and incest. It functioned as a youth group for 3 years before being registered as an NGO on June 7th 2007 under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act of 1961.

Elaan’s mission is to facilitate awareness, outreach and healing from Child Sexual Abuse. We do this by working with various target groups, creating customized awareness programmes to suit each age group and by consistently communicating with our network of therapists, peer counselors and lawyers to constantly further outreach. We use platforms such as the Internet, public meeting spaces, and cultural events and are trying to build a network of schools and colleges as part of our awareness and outreach programmes. Elaan believes in “Healing, Dealing and Surviving” and hope to contribute towards the following in the long run:

Þ A law against CSA in India
Þ The revival / introduction of sex education and personal safety in schools
Þ A nationwide network of impersonal, non-judgmental therapists
Þ A survivor support network [we already have one in Kolkata]


CSA, according to Elaan’s definition of the term, refers to:

the emotional manipulation of a minor [child below the age of consent, which in India, is 18] by an older person, with the purpose of attaining sexual gratification for the older person, through this unequal power balance of adult over child.

Many of us misconstrue the term “Child Sexual Abuse” by restricting the abuse to “sex” between an adult and child. Let us set the record straight with a few facts –

Myth: Child Sexual Abuse is about sex between an adult and child.

  • Fact: Child Sexual Abuse is actually about the use of force and manipulation by an adult over a child, the end result of which is one or more sexually abusive acts NOT necessarily including rape. CSA is 90% about the unfair use of unequal power and 10% about the actual abuse. An important point here is that the sex acts are termed “abusive” because the child is below the age of consent. We therefore have an age disparity that results in the imbalance of power.

    Myth: Child Sexual Abuse and Rape is the same thing

      • Fact: That is incorrect. As mentioned, CSA is about unfair power and manipulation. Rape is a different subject altogether. The Elaan website [www.elaan.org] has considerable data on what constitutes CSA. CSA stops short of Rape, the pre-requisite for which is “penetration”. In the case of Rape there are laws in place; Section 375-6 and the controversial Article 377 (unnatural offenses), which we hope will soon be repealed.

    Myth: Child Sexual Abuse occurs only with the girl child, and does not occur with boys.

      • Fact: CSA occurs and impacts both genders equally, although we have noticed in recent years that the number of male survivors of sexual abuse is slightly more than the number of female survivors.

    Myth: Sex offenders are male; women are not/cannot be sex offenders.

    • Fact: Both genders are equally capable of sexually abusing children.

      There are numerous myths that need to be cleared, and innumerable loose ends to tie, both legally as well as educationally. However, we can only function with the support of the general thinking public, and can do so much, beyond which we feel that it is the duty of parents, teachers and decision-making bodies to contribute to the movement against this heinous rape of childhood and unite against injustice, in favor of happy, healthy childhoods for our generation and for the future.

      Readers: Please feel free to leave comments at the end of this post to let us know what you think of the issue.

      Fellow bloggers: Please feel free to link to this post or use the information on this post to spread the word – if you feel strongly enough about the issue.

      Friends: Help us spread the word in whichever way possible – It probably won’t take much effort on your part. But merely spreading awareness on a word-of-mouth basis can make a huge difference to the cause. Any ideas / suggestions towards tackling it are welcome. Thank for your support!

      For further information, to join our support network, internship, donations, please contact: Cell: +91 98741 35992 or Landline: +91 33 2454 4564.

      29 thoughts on “Combating Child Sexual Abuse

      1. Great initiative. CSA is surprisingly rampant in India, and it is a taboo so nobody hears about it. You should ask your NGO friends to publish statistics, and I am sure that will shock and enforce action among people.

      2. Nice initiative Amit! 🙂 I agree that both boys and girls are equally susceptible to sexual exploitation. And it’s sad that not many parents are even aware of it. The parents trust their relatives and friends way too easily, when most of the sexual abuse is actually done by people close to the kid.

      3. This is a great article , with perfect use of words to arouse emotions and awareness among people. It is we who make the society and so must be armed with knowledge to prevent any mishappenings in our surroundings. Great initiative and everybody should contribute to decrease the statistics prevailing for CSA.

      4. @ Poonam: Great. thanks for sharing the link! 🙂

        @ KK: Point taken. I think preliminary statistics are found on their website [www.elaan.org] – However, we will look into publishing more detailed statistics.

        @ Ruhi: Thanks! Exactly. CSA and Incest are indeed very closely related.

        @ Vaibhav:
        Thanks! .. Thanks for dropping by!

        @ Soma: Glad you liked the write-up. Looking forward to having you over and also to have you spread awareness about the issue!

      5. There is no law to punish a child abuser??? This is the most shocking fact I have heard in recent times. Maybe all those people who waste their time and our Nation’s property for nonsense issues like stopping Bihari’s from entering Maharashtra or banning a movie should take a leaf out of your book.

      6. hi!!very nice initiative…..but i need some details as to how we can help??(except awaring ppl)..pls enlighten……

        my email:somak2001us@yahoo.com

      7. Actually m a Journalism student and currently doing my dissertation n this issue… i actually feel for the issue…
        n truely appreciateur efforts.. Plz help me find some ways to contribute for the issue… Thanx

      8. Hello,

        Thank you for those informative and much needed words. I’m the founder of a movement for survivors of child sexual abuse, incest, rape, sexual assault and domestic violence called The Lamplighters. This rapidly growing movement has 33 chapters in 22 states, a chapter in Tokyo, Japan, two in Ontario, Canada and one in Plymouth England. We need an army! If you or anyone you know would be interested in starting a chapter in their area (it is free, it is easy and it will change your life) please email me at margie@thelamplighters.org. Our website is at http://www.thelampighters.org. I am also the author of the soon to be published by Loving Healing Press book REPAIR Your Life: A program for recovery from incest & childhood sexual abuse (both children’s and adult versions). When I was 13 my father raped me and began 5 years of a nightmare world where both rape and violence were common occurances. I ran away when I was 18 after the last beating almost killed me. After 2 decades of going from one abuser to another I finally entered a 5 year program of recovery during which I wrote about my experience, a book called Let Me Hurt You and Don’t Cry Out. After that, I spent 3 years developing the REPAIR program which is based on my own recovery experience at the end of which my motto was, “If I’d known life was going to turn out this good I would have started it sooner. My two older daughters were sexually abused by my 2nd husband and my youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint when she was 17. This problem is not only epidemic but multi-generational. The child of an untreated victim stands a 5 times greater chance of being abused themselves. Please encourage anyone you know connected with this problem to go to my webpage.

      9. Hi,

        We are working with NDTV and doing a show on “Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse”. Can we have a word on 09899777106. Waiting for a Call asap.

        Thanks

      10. Занимаюсь дизайном и хочу попросить автора talkingtails.wordpress.com отправить шаьлончик на мой мыил) Готов заплатить…

      11. Amyth – Gr8 job bro! this is a cause- worth spending resources and protect our future generation. i am here in LA, however I have watched our- US system very closely and I am very sad to tell you that…it takes a special personality to even try fighting for this cause.

        I visit Mumbai/Pune frequently and I would like to know how I can help. One way is fund raising but can I partner with indian NGO so American donors can have tax benefit?

        Let me know. Best.

      12. @ Yogi,

        Thanks for dropping by. Do let me know when you are dropping in next. Although Elaan is an NGO based out of Kolkata, I would be happy to see if there are ways to get you involved too – I am located in Mumbai currently.

      13. Last year, I started therapy to deal with the effects of child sexual abuse — it was such a dramatic and life-changing process that I am now sharing excerpts from my journal on my blog. Your readers may find it educational — a look at the mind of a survivor . . . thank you!

        http://mmaaggnnaa.wordpress.com

      14. Hi,
        I work for a college where the Dean has initiated a school for the neighbouring children to get free education,food, care & security we are based in lucknow and would want to have some one come and speak to the children about CSA, child rights and education. Pls help

      15. Hi Amit

        was glad to read your post about your endeavours.

        I am currently researching on design intervention in Child Sexual Abuse ..and as I met more and more organizations, I realized that this issue is Massive and involves justa bout everyoen in the society, The abuser(who generally is saved under varied criminal reforms and justice delays), the victim (whsoe psychological harm is conveniently ignored), the Legal aid(which with the enormity of delays, impractical alws, mistrust of child memory, and unfriendly environments again si a harrassment), The family (who prefers to save honor than the mental health of victim), the society( who with their weird constructs leave no scope for one to heal, illetracy that creates many uninformed abusers, lack of acceptance of sexuality that causes lust and abusive activities and unwanted shame and guilt in the mind of thsoe abused)…..noone is solely responsible….and so now ia m wondering .where do i start…what i feel is that intervening at just one point si not the solution…there will have to be intervention at every level…glad to know that your organization si trying to amend the laws..atleast something starts somewhere….

        keep us updated

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