Madurai

HC for social movement against sexual abuse of children

Upholding the life sentence awarded to a man for sexually abusing three girls and two boys, all aged below nine, in 2015, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court observed that sexual assaults on children had become more prevalent and there should be a social movement against them.

The court was hearing an appeal preferred by the accused, challenging the Thanjavur Mahila Court judgment sentencing him to life imprisonment in 2019. He was convicted for the offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

The case of the prosecution is that the man had sexually assaulted the children of his neighbours and threatened them not to disclose it. After they told their parents about the incidents, the parents complained to the man’s son.

Since no action was taken, the parents complained to the village elders. However, the village elders told them they could not question the accused over such “delicate things”.

A Division Bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and R. Hemalatha observed that this recalcitrant attitude of the public that it was not their problem was purely due to lack of empathy. The indifference of society in general and the villagers in this particular case was appalling. The sexual abuse of children had become more prevalent and there should be a social movement against it, they said.

In India, the judges observed, children were always revered as avatars of God for their innocence and truthfulness. Rejecting the contention of the appellant that the children were tutored by their parents, the court said they could never be tutored when they themselves were victims of sexual offences.

The consequential effects of such sexual abuse could include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, complex post-traumatic stress propensity to further victimisation in adulthood, the court observed.

Moral education should focus on the importance of children and treating them with due care. Today’s children were tomorrow’s leaders and unless they were protected, society would face a huge crisis in future, the court said.

Observing that it required much courage and conviction to come out in the open and initiate the legal process against the offender, the judges dismissed the appeal.


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 1:24:03 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/hc-for-social-movement-against-sexual-abuse-of-children/article65759228.ece