Preventing child sexual abuse

One incidence of child sexual abuse was reported every week last year.

The highest number of cases was reported from Gelephu. The perpetrators were men. What is the problem here? Where are we going wrong?

Don’t we have strong enough policies and laws to protect our children and prevent such cases of abuse? Right now, the Penal Code of Bhutan states that child sexual abuse is punishable by prison terms from three to 15 years.

The Prime Minister was quoted in media saying that nothing is wrong with our policies. He said the perpetrators, men, should take responsibility for their action. He stated that it depended on the “personal commitment” of men.

Indeed, in an age where forms of sexual expression have become deviant and crooked, with pornography, promiscuity, extramarital affairs and premarital sex rampant everywhere, we would be little surprised to see that men are turning monsters who are using children to fulfill their sexual whims and fantasies.

Not only are these men dangerous because they are predators but they are perverts who deserve to be shamed and punished for their crime against innocent children.

Our children and youth are the nation’s future. We need to give them good upbringing and education with the right values and principles. Indeed if the protectors turn into predators, who will guide them? Who will nurture them? Their childhood will be snatched away from them.

The Bhutanese need to understand that child abusers are mostly relatives and friends and close ones of the family. Child abuse is insidious because very young children often do not know and understand what is happening at the time and later, when they grow up, they are filled with anger, guilt and other such harmful emotion which affect them. And this trend is also dangerous for the fact that even if the youth knows what is happening, often out of fear, shame and social stigma, they choose to keep quiet.

This is where boundaries come in. We must teach our young ones to say “no” or move away if someone makes them uncomfortable or queasy. We must teach them that if a hand starts to fondle them making them uneasy, they must resist and tell their elders or parents.

If a stranger or even a relative asks them to sit on their lap but they don’t like it, they must make noise. If someone gives them candies and money and asks them out, they must refuse. Child sexual abuse can be prevented in many cases if we tell our children that it’s okay to say no.

And the onus does not fall upon the children, parents or teachers alone. Every man and woman with a conscience must strive to control their sexual desires. Sexual desire is normal but if manifested in wrong ways, it becomes unnatural or perversion or crime. Learning to express sexuality in a healthy manner should be one of the chief aims of every responsible male and female.

pic courtesy: google