GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
One hundred and nine children were sexually abused per day in India in 2018. Every second child in India suffers a sexual assault. Approximately every fifteen minutes a child is molested, or raped, in the country. There was a 20 per cent jump in such offences on children as compared to 2017. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were the three states that topped the list. Around 65,000 children went missing in 2018 – boys, girls and transgenders – not all were traced. The source of these numbers is not a layman. India’s premier agency in collection and analysis of crime National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has come out with the above-mentioned statistics, which are startling to say the least. Sexual assault, sexual harassment and collection and distribution of pornography are common sexual offences covered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012. POCSO was a strengthened law, different from the earlier one. But sexual offences have not subsided after its implementation. It is pertinent to note that both, boys and girls are victims of the shameless acts of perverts. Children in shelter homes are becoming an easy prey for the warps. If not identified and caught early, emboldened child abusers are known to carry on with their perversion. The ordeal of having to bear the indelible scars lifelong can be crippling. Emotionally stunted growth, in due course, is a known aftereffect. Community participation in educating the child about ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ touch is the only factor that can control the preventable scourge. Tourist places cannot be allowed to turn into dens of pleasure and gratification for foreigners. Schools and tuition rooms are no more sacrosanct. There are no ‘close relatives’ or ‘distant relatives’ for a child in so far as sexual crimes are concerned. Most sexual assaults on children escape notice because of their silence. Children have to be told about the need to break silence when they are tormented.