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Maneka Gandhi responds to online petition, forms panel to study male child sexual abuse

Last year, filmmakers Insia Dariwala started an online petition, demanding authorities order an in-depth study on male child sexual abuse in India.

mumbai Updated: Apr 27, 2018 08:51 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
mumbai,maneka gandhi,NCPCR
Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi (HT file photo)

A day after the minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi took cognisance of an online petition demanding a study on male child sexual abuse (CSA), a meeting was held by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Thursday to discuss preventive strategies on CSA.

“Child Sexual Abuse is a multidimensional problem which has legal, social, medical and psychological implications. Preventive measures include creating awareness among children, general public and making parents more conscious, responsive, friendly and communicative with children,” read a statement issued by NCPCR after the meeting on Thursday.

Last year, Dariwala started an online petition, demanding authorities “order an in-depth study on male child sexual abuse in India. #EndTheIsolation.” Soon, a photo campaign, called ‘End The Isolation’ became viral across different social media platforms. On Wednesday, Gandhi responded to Dariwala’s online petition and extended an invitation to conduct the first-ever study on prevalence of male CSA.

In response to the petition, Gandhi had said, “A much neglected sphere of child sexual abuse is male survivors. Child sexual abuse is gender-neutral. Boys who are sexually abused as children spend a lifetime of silence because of the stigma and shame attached to male survivors speaking out. It is a serious problem and needs to be addressed.”

Following a series of meetings between Gandhi and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, it was decided that a core team needs to be formed to brainstorm and come up with solutions to tackle the issue.

“In a conference held in November 2017, it was unanimously decided that there should be an amendment in the existing scheme for victims of CSA to also compensate boys who have been sexually abused or raped,” said Gandhi.

NCPCR had invited Dariwala, on the basis of a preliminary research that she had done with 160 male survivors of sexual abuse.

Gandhi added that in February 2018, her ministry had announced that they would consider measures that would help survivors of CSA to report their abusers.

“The increase in child rapes recently is extremely disturbing and unnerving. However, society’s knee-jerk reaction to amend laws, time and again, is not the solution. The need has always been to find out the reasons and mind sets that perpetuate rapes. I think this study will be a right step in that direction,” Dariwala said.

This comes three days after President Ram Nath Kovind assented to the Criminal Law Ordinance, 2018, which allows courts to sentence convicts, who have raped children below 12 years, to death

First Published: Apr 27, 2018 00:01 IST