This refers to the editorial “Checking child sexual abuse” (July 14). The findings of the study referred to, although disturbing, are painful. Children who are abused at a tender age undergo a psychological trauma that leads to lifelong depression and indifference to society and family. The only solution is the enactment of a law that protects them. In the West, rules and laws are such that they deter many from committing a serious crime. But in our country, the laws are so liberal that a person who commits a crime once is inclined to repeat it because the consequences are not severe.
Besides the law, parents have an important role to play in checking child abuse. They should educate their children on society and cultural values. Working parents should find time to look after their children rather than employ baby-sitters.
The finding of a 2007 study that more than 53 per cent of India's children have experienced some form of sexual abuse is alarming. More alarming is the fact that there are no specific laws to deal with the crime. The Protection of Children from Sexual Assault Bill should be passed and implemented so that our commitment towards innocent children can be fulfilled. It is also important to create more awareness on the issue to enable us to fight child abuse collectively.
There is no doubt that abuse of children is one of the worst crimes imaginable. The worst part is, in most cases the perpetrators are those who are expected to protect and care for the child. Victims of child abuse conclude that they, in some way, deserve the abuse. They never fully recover from the scars and, at times, suffer from distrust of others, hostility, depression, anxiety, inability to form close relationships and a host of other psychological and psychiatric problems.
A society is best judged by the way in which it treats its children and India has drastically failed on this count. Sexual abuse of children has become rampant. We should concentrate our energy and resources to give the most precious gift to the vulnerable children community — a protected and dignified childhood, which is also its right.