My greatest fear is when I’m in a situation where I have to help
someone and I just don’t know what to do, or what to say or even which
direction to point them in. It haunts me. I can’t sleep, I end up thinking
about the things I could do or say in order to help the situation but my
inability to help makes me feel useless. I’ve realized that knowledge shared is
an impressive tool to help someone. Therefore, my journey now is to share use able knowledge on topics and life situations that most keep hidden.
You will find a series of articles in the upcoming weeks
narrating situations and highlighting possibilities of help for those given
I encourage feedback, and more than that, I urge you to write in
your stories, so that we at Poddar Foundation can direct you back on the road
to your mental and emotional wellness.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
In an article written by Dr. Asha Bajpai, (affiliated with
socio-legal studies and human rights) she defines sexual abuse as:
Anything that involves mental, physical and emotional abuse
of a child through overt and covert sexual acts, gestures and disposition -
when informed consent or resistance by the child victim to such acts is not
possible. It can also include activities that do not involve direct touching.
There is a huge blind spot when it comes to child sexual abuse.
We forget that the children around us may be at risk of abuse even within their
own families. Children are taught to respect elders and even more so when it is
family, therefore they first choose to protect their environment rather than
themselves. Children below the age of seven may not even be aware that they are
For the victims of long-term sexual abuse the shame around it
makes it difficult for children to open up, because they are subtly brainwashed
into believing that they too play a part in the gratification brought to them
through their bodies, hence, making it mutual and not ‘sexual abuse’.
The Managing Trustee of the Poddar Foundation, Prakriti Poddar,
takes the definition of child sexual abuse even further to include children
that are exploited due to their vulnerability and due to the position of the
perpetrator. This includes a large
difference in the age of the child and the partner. Additionally the child need
not be resistant to the sexual advances. According to Prakriti, the part that
needs to be highlighted is that the child may seem to enjoy it, may even covet
it, but it is still sexual abuse if the partner is in a position of authority,
and/or has a large age difference.
This is important because the child is not mature enough to
handle the psychological impact, which starts to play out due to sexual
activity at a young age.
The psychological repercussions and behavioral changes are
extremely unassuming and only a parent empowered with knowledge can identify
(a) Shrinking away
from physical contact
(b) Has trouble in
school, such as absences or drops in grades
(c) Changes in
hygiene, such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively
(d) Runs away from
home or school
(e) Assumes an
emotional caretaker role in the family
sexual knowledge or behaviors
Since the responses are subtle, families are often not unaware of
the abuse because there may be no physical display as child sexual abuse may or
may not have the involvement of direct penetration.
The typical physical
signs of child sexual abuse with penetration is, difficulty walking or
sitting, blood stained underwear, pain, and urinary infections.
The part that pains me the most is that parents and caregivers
often turn a blind eye to the abuse due to four main reasons:
(a) The shame
(b) The lack of support by the legal system
(c) Often the perpetrator plays an important financial role in
(d) They don’t know what to do
It is unfortunate but for most parents’ access to finances seem
to be more important than physical and emotional safety.
What saddens me is that one in three raped, is a child. That is
an extremely high ratio considering that child sexual abuse is often not
reported. From the cases that are reported, 7,200 children including infants are raped
MOST OF THE CHILD ABUSE AREN'T REPORTED AND THAT IS BECAUSE:
The child is too
young to understand it and/or to report it.
always know the perpetrator who may be a relative or a friend of the family.
By the time the
child is an adult and is ready to report this act, he/she starts to doubt whether what happened actually happened because we tend to fade memories that
affect us most sometimes.
Some cases do
not fit the criteria of the laws of our penal code and thus those cases aren’t
threatened into silence by the culprits.
BEFORE 2012, IPC had no laws
regarding child sexual abuse and if a case was reported the offender was dealt
with section 375,376,377,509 and 354. These are related to rape and abusive
acts but in 2012 the IPC came up with a new act called “The
protection of children from sexual offenses act, 2012”.
This act defines
different types of sexual abuse. 
any object or using any part of body to cause penetration into any part of the
body of the child or making the child do so.
penis, vagina, anus, breast of a child with sexual intent
physical contact to child with sexual intent or making the child do so.
any sound or gesture or exhibiting any object or part of body, with sexual
intent, so that it will be heard or seen by the child
a child exhibit his body or make a gesture so that it is seen by the child or
other person with sexual intent.
following or watching child either directly or through digital or any other
means with sexual intent
any object to child in any form with sexual intent or enticing child for pornographic purposes.
At one of my lectures in
college this very topic was discussed but around solutions and prevention there
was uncertainty about the next steps. Therefore I took it upon myself to show
you the way forward.
Do not hesitate
at all to report this crime. IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT.
In case it
someone in your family, school or tuition that is abusing you, take a chance
and tell someone in authority who you trust will do something about it.
Often you will
feel alone and betrayed and unable to find someone you can trust, but that is
no problem, reach out to us @ +91-22-66164404
Other helpline number 8793088814
/15/16 - Aks Foundation and Neo-Gandhian Aid Organisations India NGAOI
Go to the police
station near you. If the cops don’t help
there is a child helpline number 1098.
to what they have to say. Do not react to it in a manner that might make the
child shut down.
believe in whatever they say and if you find it irrelevant check things out but
without them noticing it. They need you to trust them at such times.
wise and never take the law under your hands.
the child feel safe and confident to speak up.
not let him/her think it’s their fault.
to it that the culprit is reported and brought to justice.
care of the needs of the child and accompany him/her places until they start to
feel less vulnerable.
the child ways in which he/she can be sure that no one crosses the line of
their privacy again. Not even parents after a certain age.
necessary consult a counselor.
Most importantly, talk to
the children in your care about the dangers of sexual abuse. Give them the
skills to protect themselves. Do not leave them unattended. Your boys are at as
much risk as your girls.
Child Line India has been
doing a good job. Do explore their website. http://www.childlineindia.org.in/ChildFriendly.htm
(It’s necessary that the huge numbers are
put forth for our audience. Thus we use statistics for easy understanding)
Of children physically abused in families, in
88.6% of the cases, it was the parents who were the perpetrators. The study
also interviewed 2,324 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, almost half
of whom reported being physically or sexually abused as children. (TIMES OF
(Graph representing number of children who are sexually abused)
A Global School-Based Student Health Survey (CHILDLINE
Table showing the top countries which are victims of sexual
abuse on children
(As per the report by INTERNATIONAL BUSSINESS TIMES)
Bihar, Assam and Delhi reported the highest percentage of CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE incidents.
In 50% of child abuse cases, the abusers were known to the child or were in a
position of trust and responsibility and most children did not report the
matter to anyone. (TIMES OF INDIA)
At the Poddar Foundation we
encourage you to ‘Share your Story’ (http://www.poddar.foundation)
we hope that every story brings people together and that every pain shared will
create a community of camaraderie and support. The foundation will assist in
providing knowledge and tools to promote new balance, insight and light.
We have two modes of
dissemination, blogs or through our vlogs and are happy to connect you to our
counselor and journalists who will interview you.
Our initiative works to shed
light on the hidden dis-harmonies of mental health and to empower people with
knowledge to uplift them from their current state.
Ask for help if you are
Join hands with us.
Tell us your story
We use the power of ONLINE Media
to make a change.
Be a part of our initiative
by following us on: