The recent child sex abuse cases have raised the issue of safety of children within the family circle.The disgusting case of Pascal Mazurier — who allegedly sexually abused his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter — and the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl Jaya Sudha, by an acquaintance near Whitefield have raised an alarm among parents about child safety in their family circle.
Parents have become extra cautious about the people with whom their children mingle.
Savitha Jayaraj, a mother of two daughters, says that it’s ‘scary’ for her to trust anyone now.
“It’s scary to know that such incidents are taking place within the family. We cannot trust anybody any more. I keep calling my daughters every now and then to know about their whereabouts,” explains Savitha.
She also maintains that parents should be careful while inviting male friends to the house.
“Even with relatives, we have to be careful and need to keep an eagle eye on them. For me, my children are most important,” Savitha adds.
Chitra Lakshman, a professor and a mother of two, is alert whenever her daughter is interacting with any male relative or acquaintance.
“We should make sure that when our children are with somebody, there is minimal physical contact,” she says. She adds, “Whatever Pascal did to his daughter was shocking. We need to tell our children that if such incidents happen with them, they should share it with us.”
Another professor, A Kumar, says he believes most child abuse cases happen in families which are relatively uneducated.
“Family background matters in such cases. The Pascal case was horrible and it is good that he has been arrested,” he states. He says that this incident is a warning for parents.
“These two cases are shocking and people should understand that incidents like these will traumatise the children and affect their life. Let children enjoy their childhood,” he says.
Explaining the psychology of the culprits who sexually abuse children, Dr Vinod Chebbi, a sexologist and psychotherapist, says, “Child abuse has been prevalent in society for a long time. It is only now that it is being revealed.
Most importantly, the culprit usually is a person the child trusts.”
He says that there are three reasons why such incidents occur. “Children are easily available, they trust easily and even if they are sexually abused, they don’t reveal it. Because of these things, culprits can easily escape. Also, despite being their family members, they do not feel any connection with the children.
For them, children are just any other member of the opposite sex. Such people are emotionally stunted and they do not understand the tender emotions of a child,” he adds.
Chebbi says people engage in such activities because they have either witnessed or were victims of similar acts during their childhood.
To avoid such incidents, Chebbi explains that children must be taught about their body parts at a very young age.
“Even if they are young, parents must teach their children to protest and shout if someone tries to physically assault them. Not only girls — boys are also victims of sex abuse,” he concludes.