Belgian Catholic Church probe finds 475 sexual abuse of minors
A Belgian Catholic Church-backed commission published a report on September 10, 2010 revealing hundreds of cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors
by clergy and church workers, and 13 suicides by abuse victims. The commission said it had received 475 complaints in the first six
months of this year from alleged victims or their families. Most were related to charges of sexual abuse committed between the 1950s
and the late 1980s by Catholic clergy, but also by teachers of religion and adults working with youth movements.
Child, Sex, Tourism
India has become one of the hottest child sex tourism destination . A report, Trafficking in Women and Children in India, sponsored
by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), highlights this, mentioning not just
Goa, which since the 1990s has uncovered rackets by Freddy Peats and Helmut Brinkmann, but also Alleppy and Ernakulam districts of
Kerala, where houseboat tourism has lately seen a boom. But the reports finding tell only part of story. " The attention paedophiles are paying to India is preposterous,"
says Rakesh Gupta, a child rights activists. "They are mentioning the Golden Triangle- Delhi, Agra aand Jaipur - in their anonymous blog posts."
In Kerala, "sex on the water" is the latest rage for paedophiles. Most paedophiles heading for Kerala start in Delhi, where police estimates the existence of 10 cartels specialising in
child sex tourism. "With nearly a lakh homeless children in Capital, it's easy for paedophiles to come and expolit them"
says Dr Rajat Mitra, who heads Swanchetan, an NGO specialising rape trauma. In Mumbai, nearly 70,000 minors are abused yearly, estimates Kusumbar Choudhury of Save the Children India.
Child Abuse Statistics
There are 5,00,000 children in prostitution, in India. More than 3 children die a day in the USA. Of the total number
of children who were killed in the USA, from 1976-1997, 54 percent were killed by a parent, 15 percent were killed by
strangers or unknown persons. There are over 15 million children in bonded labour, in India today. Twice as many girls than boys engaged in child
labour. 63% of girls in Delhi, have experienced child sexual abuse at the hands of a family member (Sakshi, 1997).
In a study of a 1000 girls from 5 different states in India, (Rahi, 1997), 50% of the girls said that they had been abused
when under 12 years of age, 35% had been abused between the ages of 12- 16 years of age. The average sex offender has 76
victims. (American data.) There are at least 18 million children living on the streets in India. In a number of joint studies conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour, 75% of the children reported treatment
by staff as bad and 91.7% reported provisions of necessities as bad, Bangalore. In Mumbai 75.4 % reported bad treatment by staff and 53.2 reported that provisions were poor.
One million children are trafficked into prostitution, in Asia every year.
Dr. Preethi Menon says: "Sexual abuse has immediate as well as long-term effects on the child, from emotional and
behavioral problems to abnormal sexual behavior and psychiatric disorders. Suicidal tendencies and drug abuse are common long-term effects."
Male child sexual abuse victims at heart risk
Men who experience childhood sexual abuse are three times more likely to have a heart attack as compared to
those who were not sexually abused as children, to a new study has suggested.
For the study, researchers from the University of Toronto examined gender-specific differences in a representative sample of 5095 men and
7768 women aged 18 and over, drawn from the Center for Disease Control's 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.
A total of 57 men and 154 women reported being sexually abused by
someone close to them before they turned 18 and 377 men and 285 women said that a doctor, nurse or other health professional had diagnosed
them with a heart attack or myocardial infarction. The study was co-authored by four graduate students at the University of Toronto, Raluca Bejan, John Hunter , Tamara Grundland and Sarah
Brennenstuhl. "Men who reported they were sexually abused during childhood were particularly vulnerable to having a heart attack later in life," lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson said.
Hazy Laws in India
In India till March 2011, there were no laws that cover child abuse in all its dimensions.
Lawyer IB Singh, however, feels the problem is not with the laws but with the law enforcing agencies. "The process is long drawn and
conviction rate negligible." he says. While law takes its course, the child suffers four times over - when the act is committed, while
narrating the incident, during medical examination and then, in court.
With boys, only proven sodomy is punishable offence- but other than that,
there is no clear definition of sexual abuse. The picture gets hazier when the act is committed by a child against a child. In that case,
the Juvenile Justice Act comes into force, and law is not clear to whom the victim reports.
Prevention can be focused at three levels. At the primary level, the focus can be on removing the causes, strengthening the child's competence to
recognize and react, increasing parental awareness, strengthening social vigilance, and bringing in effective and punitive penal policy. At
the secondary level, the emphasis should be on early detection, quick ntervention and provision of a supportive environment in schools and families. Tertiary intervention
should involve coordination among the police, courts, counselors, doctors and social workers.
A national level study on child abuse is being conducted to assess the extent and magnitude of the problem in
India. The study will gauge the different forms of abuse and examine the profile of the abused and exploited children
and their relationship with the perpetrator, according to official sources here. The issue of child abuse,
which has remained neglected so far, has been entrusted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to Prayas, a non- government organisation (NGO) working on children's issues.
Prayas, which is conducting the year-long study starting September 2005, will recommend measures and strategies
for policy, legislations and programme development in this regard, the sources said. Based on the findings, the government will draw up
interventions to address the problem. In view of the expertise and experience of Prayas in the field, the NGO, on behalf of the ministry, had
organised on October 28-29 a workshop to train trainers or field officers who will undertake the nationwide study. The effort is being funded by Save the Children and UNICEF.
Nirbhaya documentary row
Rape incidents are not new to India but the heinous crime that took place on a moving bus in Delhi on the
accursed night of December 16, 2012 changed the way Indians perceive the crime. Not just in India, the incident horrified and unnerved people across the world.
At the time when the victim of the gang-rape was fighting for her life, countless prayers by millions across the world were made. She is no more
today, but her memories live on.
Braving the cold, millions of students, activists and people from all walks of life filled the streets of Delhi in protest against the incident that had sent chills down their spines. It was
unprecedented for a country to witness protests of such magnitude for a rape victimís plight. People were angry and the government was nervous.
The crime kicked off a debate about women's treatment in the Indian society and led to the introduction of tougher punishments for sexual abuse.
Barred by law from revealing the identity of the victim, the media famously named the victim `Nirbhaya` (fearless).
Two years after the incident, a documentary by a foreign journalist on the incident has stirred up a hornetsí nest when it showed one of the
rape accused blaming the victim for the incident. The BBC4 film by Leslee Udwin has been banned in India but premiered in the UK..