The transformation in a survivor of gang rape.
Delhi records the highest number of rapes in the country with nearly a thousand attempted rapes reported every year of minor children alone. Nearly three fourths of the survivors are children below ten years of age and their perpetrators have a very low conviction rate. A variety of factors have been seen to be the reason behind why such a large number of perpetrators get away.
First is to do with the culture of silence that the perpetrator is able to introduce in the victim’s mind. Secondly it is lack of child specific interviews in the absence of which some of the most crucial evidence is lost. Third it is the family’s sense of honor that prevents a child from disclosing her trauma. Lastly it’s a long and arduous legal process that breaks the will to testify for many survivors.
It is also been noted that perpetrators and their families are without impunity able to threaten, seduce, cajole the survivors and obstruct the process of justice in child sexual abuse. As the problem of child sexual abuse in Delhi and all over India is a massive one Swanchetan suggests that several urgent steps are needed to address this issue.
Need to create a national data base on child sexual offenders that is available to the law enforcement and those dealing in the field. A set of stricter laws and their enforcement whereby all sexual violence and violations are assessed along stringent parameters keeping in mind that the trauma undergone by the victim is the same or even higher than rape in many cases.
Rural families listening to how to keep their children safe from pedophilia.
There is an urgent need to build up trauma centers specific to working with such children that uses psychological therapies such as play therapy, art therapy and trauma reduction approaches in safe environments. It is important to de-link child sexual abuse from adult sexual abuse in the criminal justice system.
Lastly it is important that the amount of information and documentation available should be used for further evidence based research and dissemination of knowledge for the public.
As India steps away from being a conservative society and its citizens begin to express their voice, child sexual abuse has also emerged from its hidden closet and secrecy and is becoming a part of national awareness and sensitivity.
Girls in a rural school listening to preventing child sexual abuse.
Swanchetan runs a twenty four hours counseling centre for victims of rape and sexual violence in the city of Delhi. Swanchetan has helped many children retrieve their memory of the assault through psychological methods and helped build a profile of the perpetrator. It is long and complex process by which various elements of the jigsaw of the crime are put together leading the investigators to zero in on the alleged suspect.
In the last eight years, Swanchetan has provided psychological counseling and assessment to victims and interrogations of sexual offenders to police in thousands of cases leading to successful prosecutions of many suspects. The work has even been commended by the Commissioner of Police, Delhi himself.