Healing is not a linear process. You may revisit a particular issue, say, the fear of intimacy, as you begin a new relationship. Or you may have to learn to set limits with your children if you have always had issues with boundaries.
But the process of moving on cannot be rushed. Getting there will take time. You should not be doing it just because your partner and family members are urging you to get over the past. You will need resolution. Healing is a painful process but if you can go through every stage, and remain vested in the journey, then the road ahead will get easier.
According to UNICEF violence against children can be “physical and mental abuse and injury, neglect or negligent treatment, exploitation and sexual abuse. Violence may take place in homes, schools, orphanages, residential care facilities, on the streets, in the workplace, in prisons and in places of detention.” Such violence can affect the normal development of a child impairing their mental, physical and social being. In extreme cases abuse of a child can result in death.
Child abuse has many forms: physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, and exploitation. Any of these that are potentially or actually harmful to a child’s health, survival, dignity and development are abuse. This definition is derived from the W.H.O.
- Physical abuse is when a child has been physically harmed due to some interaction or lack of interaction by another person, which could have been prevented by any person in a position of responsibility, trust or power.
- Emotional abuse can be seen as a failure to provide a supportive environment and primary attachment figure for a child so that they may develop a full and healthy range of emotional abilities. Emotional abuse is also the act of causing harm to a child’s development, when they could have been within reasonable control of a person responsible for the child. Examples of these acts are restricting movement, threatening, scaring, discriminating, ridiculing, belittling, etc. In India a rising concern is the pressure children feel to perform well in school and college examinations, which can be seen as a form of emotional stress and abuse.
- Sexual abuse is engaging a child in any sexual activity that he/she does not understand or cannot give informed consent for or is not physically, mentally or emotionally prepared for. Abuse can be conducted by an adult or another child who is developmentally superior to the victim. This includes using a child for pornography, sexual materials, prostitution and unlawful sexual practises.
- Neglect or negligent treatment is purposeful omission of some or all developmental needs of the child by a caregiver with the intention of harming the child. This includes the failure of protecting the child from a harmful situation or environment when feasible.
- Exploitation can be commercial or otherwise, where by the child is used for some form of labour, or other activity that is beneficial for others. Example: child labour or child prostitution.
Surveys & Statistics on Child Sexual Abuse in India
The Indian NGO Recovery and Healing from Incest (RAHI) conducted India’s first study of child sexual abuse. It surveyed 600 English-speaking middle and upper-class women, 76 percent of whom said they had been abused in childhood or adolescence, 40 percent by at least one family member, most commonly an uncle or cousin.
Tulir-CPHCSA`s study in 2006,conducted among 2211 school going children in Chennai, indicates a CSA prevalence rate of 42%.Children of all socio-economic groups were found to be equally vulnerable. while 48% of boys reported having been abused, the prevalence rate among girls was 39%.15 % of both the boys and girls were severely abused
The Indian government backed a survey of 125000 children in Thirteen states. Of the children interviewed, more than half (53%) said that they had been subjected to one or more forms of sexual abuse. Over 20% of those interviewed said they were subjected to severe forms of abuse. Of those who said they were sexually abused, 57% were boys.
The Human Rights Watch Report “Breaking the Silence” presents a dismal picture of child protection in the country particularly when it comes to preventing sexual abuse of minors within homes, schools and institutions. A comprehensive 82 page report, complete with case studies and expert comments, it proves beyond doubt the existence of child sexual abuse across classes. Highlighting inaction against the perpetrators, Human Rights Watch revealed that child sexual abuse in homes, schools and institutions for care and protection of children is quite common. They further stress that a government appointed committee in January 2013 itself found that the government child protection schemes, “have clearly failed to achieve their avowed objective.”
Organisations working on Child Sexual Abuse in India
Child line India 1098 at a national level
ARZ and Child Rights in Goa in Goa
Project Angel in Mangalore
In November 2014, Aarambh, the first online resource portal in India was launched in Mumbai
Please Save Children Childhood To Save Nation Future.