Give Up Your Ignorance to Child Abuse, The Issue is Much Bigger Than Anticipated

Give Up Your Ignorance to Child Abuse, the issue is much bigger than anticipated.

 Such is the time that demands for justice, a safe space, and care, boil down to CCTV installation. There is an elephant in the room and all we care about is the panopticon control over things. As if it was the lack of control that led men to behave so violently. (Or, are you saying that men are literally imbeciles who can’t control themselves until some big brother is watching?)

Next what? When a child gets molested at home by her ‘dear’ relatives you blame it on the kid’s parents’ inability to install a CCTV in the attic? What happens in the toilet when her dear father takes a chance? What about the grand-dad who rocks her on his lap with a hard-on?

By the way, what about those children on the streets or the children in a household that cannot afford proper sanitation? What about those schools where we die to get a job for a government salary but don’t care to provide anything in return? It’s very easy to accuse corporate-like schools for their lack of systemic control. It is easy. Had you asked them to ensure safe space, empathy, care etc. it would have been tough on ‘their’ part to execute.

Sexual assault is rampant in schools across the country, and it can happen to any student, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality. Typically school staff and administrations claim to take sexual assault very seriously and have knowledge of these policies, yet many remain unprepared to deal with real life incidents. Because of this, school authorities often deny and ignore sexual harassment in schools. Thus by creating a culture, that excuses inappropriate behaviour that seems inconsequential; these oversights results in students who push the limits of lax sexual harassment.

21% middle school students have admitted that they have faced unwanted sexual approaches. 5.4% male and 23.15% female students have faced sexual assault in schools.

It is imperative that schools implement more sexual assault education programs to enlighten students about the topic. These programs must include an emphasis on the awareness of the issue, as well as behaviours and actions that will prevent it.

The first step toward battling sexual assault is making students aware of commonly unknown realities. Most cases of sexual exploitation involve perpetrators known to the child more often than strangers.

25% of rapes of children in the year 2015 were committed by their employers and co-workers. This fact has been extracted from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2015 data on the 8,800 child rape cases registered using the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

Interestingly, the registered rape cases, in which women were sexually assaulted in their workplace, were only 2%. In child labour cases, boys were abused as frequently as girls according to the 2007 study conducted along with the Ministry of Women and Child Development. 488 cases saw the victim raped by grandfathers, brothers, fathers and even sons. At 55% and 49% respectively, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat reported the highest number of child workplace sexual abuse cases.

Though it must be a difficult subject for them, young children need to be aware of the dangers. Since it is unlikely that they are even aware of what behaviour is or is not appropriate, they are especially vulnerable.

Awareness and prevention cannot begin at the college level, because by that time most students have a fully-formed attitude towards sexual assault, regardless of whether they are correct or not. Dangerous attitude about sex can begin as early as kindergarten, where boys get instinctively used to a particular behaviour, with the common phrase “boys will be boys” being recited  to them on a daily basis. Without proper education, these dismissive attitudes are cultivated and reinforced. Too often, harmful behaviour and attitude surrounding sexual violence are swept under the rug by school administrations.

By neglecting the need to provide this education, schools do not fulfil their duty towards students. The whole point of getting an education is to prepare you for the real world outside. Teachers will never be comfortable sending students off without teaching them simple addition and subtraction, so why are most schools perfectly happy with sending students off without proper knowledge about a healthy sexual situation?

This knowledge is just as important and applicable – if not more so – as any other grade school lesson.

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