50 pc school kids abused: survey
A survey shows nearly 50 per cent of children between the ages of 5 and 18 in 13 states across the country are sexually abused at school, reports Anuradha Mukherjee.delhi Updated: Aug 31, 2007 00:59 IST
Irrespective of whether there is truth in the allegations against Government Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya teacher Uma Khurana, there are reasons to believe our children are not safe from predators at school.
A survey carried out this year by the union ministry of women and child development shows nearly 50 per cent of children between the ages of 5 and 18 in 13 states across the country are sexually abused at school. And 53 per cent say they have suffered some form of sexual abuse at school or elsewhere.
Of the total number of sexual assaults reported, half came from Delhi (14.77%), Andhra Pradesh (13.67%), Assam (11.78%), and Bihar (10.34%). Over 4 per cent of respondents said they had been photographed in the nude.
The highest number of sexual assaults described as “severe” were reported from Assam (52.27%), followed by Delhi (41%), Andhra Pradesh (33.87%) and Bihar (33.27%). Overall, 21.9 per cent of children reported “severe” sexual abuse while 50.76 per cent reported other forms of sexual abuse.
Abdul Mabood, who runs Snehi, an NGO working in the area of child and adolescent mental health, says children calling his helpline often report their parents and teachers do not listen to them.
“I get 3-4 such cases every month. And the worst problem is that even if parents take up the issue, schools refuse to take it up too,” he says.
Usha Ram, principal of Laxman Public School and chairperson of the National Progressive Schools’ Conference, says: “Children must be taught to be aware of their bodies, and not let anybody touch them inappropriately, like in the private parts. Schools and parents must both train the child to report something like this and also keep a close watch for any abnormal behaviour in the chisld. Teachers who abuse children are mentally sick.”
The survey also brought out the wide prevalence of corporal punishment a form of physical abuse of children in schools.
Over 65 per cent of children surveyed said they were subjected to corporal punishment in schools. The situation in Delhi is especially scary: nearly seven out of 10 children said they were beaten up and humiliated at school.
From the survey, government and municipal schools students appeared to be suffering the most at the hands of their teachers. Over 62 per cent of the instances of corporal punishment are from government and municipal schools.