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Clear and present danger

These are conclusions of Swanchetan, an NGO works that with victims of child rape.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2006 02:21 IST

These are conclusions of Swanchetan, an NGO works that with victims of child rape. Dr Rajat Mitra of the NGO has also interviewed convicted paedophiles at Tihar jail over the past decade:

* Around 15-17 per cent of the population have sexual tendencies towards children

* Paedophiles aren’t attracted to secondary sexual characteristics — an adult’s physique, voice, or face. They have overpowering fantasies involving children

* Research in the West indicates a “multi-factorial” basis to their behaviour: (i) genetic disposition, (ii) their environment while growing up, and (iii) severe psychological problems regarding sexual identity

* Paedophiles don’t associate sex with nurturing and intimacy. For healthy people, adolescence is when the nurturing of childhood fuses with the awakening of sexuality so that they associate sexuality with tenderness. This fusing appears missing in paedophiles

* High rates of paedophilia are found in migrant areas, like Dabri and Mongolpuri in Delhi. This may be because of single parent family, where not only does a girl not get attention she needs, she has responsibilities for siblings. Her emotional maturity and physical immaturity make her “very appealing” to the paedophile

* Family secret: Rape by a relative in India often leads to the mother becoming defensive and silent (unlike the US, where mothers show outrage). Most blame the daughter herself, and therapists spend a lot of time trying to convince the victim the man was at fault, and trying to create outrage in the family

* Paedophiles rarely use force; they are experts at seduction. Beware the silver-tongued stranger!

* Remember: for victims, the abuse is always alive. There’s a case of a woman who was abused by her father 40 years back. Now on his deathbed, he’s begged for forgiveness. But in therapy, the daughter talks about the abuse as if it happened just yesterday. In their minds, it never stops

* If a child mentions abuse DO talk about it; DON’T suppress it; DO believe it; DON’T say the child is responsible; DELINK it from the person’s future/marriage

WATCH OUT for falling attention of your child; a relationship with someone that doesn’t seem quite right; and

CHECK OUT the private tutor.

First Published: Jan 22, 2006 00:44 IST