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The Disturbing Reality Of Schools As Hotspots For Sexual Assaults On Children In India

Recent reports of sexual assaults on students within the premises of schools have shaken our society to its core. These distressing incidents highlight the urgent need for comprehensive measures to tackle this pervasive issue.

Just yesterday came another report of an 11-year-old girl who was apparently sexually harassed by a teacher in a government school in Delhi’s Dwarka. 

While another case was reported wherein a 15-year-old girl was allegedly thrown off the terrace of the school building after being gang-raped by the principal and two staff members of a private school in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya district.

sexual assault in schools

These are just two such instances; however, the fact is that for the past few years, the cases of alleged sexual harassment in schools have substantially gone up, and they are outright abuse of power and trust that both the child and the parents put in the school and those working in any capacity within these schools.

It’s Time To Act!

It is imperative that we come together as a community, acknowledge the gravity of the problem, and take immediate action to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. 

An Alarming Trend Which Is On The Rise

The alarming rise in sexual assaults on children in schools demands our immediate attention. These young minds, who should be focused on learning, growing, and building their futures, are instead subjected to unspeakable acts of violence and trauma. It is a wake-up call for our society as a whole to confront the harsh reality and create a safe environment where children can thrive.

Breaking the Silence And Reporting Offenders

One of the most significant hurdles in tackling sexual assault within schools is the culture of silence that surrounds these crimes. Victims often feel ashamed, afraid, and uncertain about speaking out, while the perpetrators exploit this fear to continue their heinous acts. It is crucial to break this silence by fostering an environment that encourages open dialogue, empathy, and support.

 

Empowering Education, The Difference Between Good And Bad Touch

Education plays a pivotal role in combating sexual assault. By incorporating comprehensive sex education into school curricula, we can equip children with knowledge about consent, boundaries, healthy relationships, and the recognition of abusive behaviour. Empowering students with this understanding will enable them to protect themselves and others, fostering a culture of respect and safety.

Strengthening Policies And An Unpardonable Approach

Schools must have robust policies in place to prevent and address sexual assault cases. Background checks for staff, stringent hiring procedures, and mandatory training on recognizing and reporting abuse are crucial steps. Additionally, clear protocols for handling incidents, including prompt and thorough investigations, should be implemented.

Sexual Abuse Is Scarring

These instances of abuse leave a lasting impact on the child even after he/she grows up to become an adult. Children are unsuspecting, vulnerable, and easy to exploit at a tender age. A child is prone to severe mental, physical, sociological, psychological, and emotional abuse when such instances happen.

A family is expected to provide a nurturing environment to the child because the family is considered the child’s first school. Therefore, whatever is taught to a child at an early stage stays with them until they reach adolescence. Similarly, schools are too expected to maintain a safe environment for the children where they don’t become subject to any abuse.

Explosive Facts

One of the surveys done by The Ministry of Women and Child Development released the results of a nationwide survey on Child Abuse, in which 12,500 children had participated across 13 States. 

Here is what came up, more than half, 53%, said that they had been subjected to one or more forms of sexual abuse. If that can be extrapolated, it would mean that one in every two children has been victims of sexual abuse. Over 20 per cent of those interviewed said they were subjected to severe forms of sexual abuse.

Of those who said they were sexually abused, 57 per cent were boys. According to Crime in India, 2014 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crimes committed against children were observed as 20.1 per one lakh population of children (up to 18 years of age). 

A total of 10,854 cases of child rape were reported in the country during 2015 as compared to 13,766 in 2014, accounting for a decrease of 26.8 per cent during the year 2015.

The latest data released by the National Crime Record reflects the growing number of cases related to crime against children registered during 2021, with over 1.49 cases.

A sharp increase of 16.2% over 2020, of which a worrisome 38.1% were cases of sexual offences, including child rape.

Physical Abuse

  • Two out of every three children were physically abused.
  • Out of 69% of children physically abused, 54.68% were boys.
  • Over 50% of children were being subjected to one or the other form of physical abuse.
  • The States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi have almost consistently reported higher abuse rates in all forms compared to other states.

Sexual Abuse

  • 53.22% of children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest percentage of sexual abuse among both boys and girls.
  • 21.90% of child respondents reported facing severe forms of sexual abuse, and 50.76% other forms of sexual abuse.
  • Children in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest incidence of sexual assault.
  • 50% of abuses are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility.

POCSO, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act

To curb the problem of child sexual abuse in India, the government compiled POCSO in 2012.

However, the number of cases of child sexual abuse under the POCSO Act has increased. The Act recognizes that the intent to commit an offence, even when unsuccessful for whatever reason, needs to be penalized. 

The attempt to commit an offence under the Act has been made liable for punishment for up to half the punishment prescribed for the commission of the offence. The Act also provides for punishment for abetment of the offence, which is the same as for the commission of the offence. 

The Last Bit, Sexual harassment is a severe issue that children face in schools in India, and it is time that we acknowledge that schools can become a hotspot for verbal, physical or written abuse. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Thus as parents, it is our responsibility to make the child aware of such possibilities and to talk to the child that they must always report such instances and that they can and must convey the same to their parents without hesitation and fear of any consequences. 

Sexual harassment can cause a lot of problems for children at school. It can make them feel scared to go to school and afraid of what will happen to them there. Some children may even skip school because they are terrified of what might happen to them if they don’t avoid certain people who may be harassing them or making them feel unsafe at school.

Parents and teachers need to know about sexual harassment to help children who are being harassed and ensure that everyone feels safe at school, and POSCO must be implemented strictly!

 

naveenika
naveenika
They say that the 'pen is mightier than the sword'; I believe definitely so! Today news is delivered at breakneck speed, but what makes news articles different from one source to another? It is the way it is delivered-facts, research, the point of view with the correct amount of panache, the X factor! Writing is my chosen profession after 15 years in the corporate sector, and I strive to tick every box even as I am grateful to my readers for their precious time and patronage!
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