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By: Abdul Rasool Syed 

And, how to root out the menace

Following the horrific killing of six-year-old, flower-like kid Zainab who was abducted, deflowered and brutally strangled to death; many other similar incidents have been reported in the media almost every day. The frequency of reporting of these events suggests that the menace of paedophilia is growing at an exponential rate in our society. It is quite disgusting and, undoubtedly, a great shame for our society as a whole. This alarming surge in sexual abuse of children reflects that these innocent beings are extremely vulnerable. Paedophiles, who without shadow of a doubt are the scum of the earth, easily prey on our loved ones with impunity. Such beasts must be exterminated and the society should be cleansed of them. If they go on with their illicit activities, they will be jeopardizing the life and honour of our innocent children. Therefore, all the stakeholders i.e. parents, children and the society as a whole, should make a common cause against these bestial elements in the guise of humans so as to make our society a safe place for our kids.

World Health Organisation (WHO) defines paedophilia as the involvement of a child in a sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent or that violates the laws or social taboos of the society.

After learning the definition, let’s now debunk certain myths attached to paedophilia in our society.

One of the myths attached to paedophilia is that the paedophiles are mostly strangers to children. It is altogether a misguided opinion. According to a research, conducted by some credible NGOs, 47 percent of the perpetrators are relatives, 43 percent are acquaintances and merely 7 percent are strangers. Hence, it is wrong to advise kids of being cautious of the strangers only. They should also stay equally careful in their dealings with familiar people as well because the abuser can be anyone i.e. the siblings, a step-parent, the grandparents, the teachers, the neighbours, the servants, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc., in fine, all those people a child interacts with in his/her social domain. That’s why parents need to keep an eagle eye on all those people who share proximity with their children. Parents should trust none in this regard.

Moreover, it is also a myth that only girls are the victims of sexual abuse. Boys are also equally vulnerable. Therefore, the homogenous protective measures are required for the protection of both the sexes.

In addition, it is also a wrong perception that mostly the children belonging in economically disadvantaged section of the society become easy prey of the paedophiles. Sexual abuse is beyond socioeconomic barriers or the class segregation. Comparatively, the children of the privileged class are more at risk than those belonging to the less privileged class as they are surrounded by servants even in the absence of their parents. A large number of cases bear testimony to the fact that children of well-to-do families were molested by their own servants i.e. drivers, chefs, security guards, maids, etc.

Now, the questions that arise here are: how we can put an end to this social ill, and what legal and social remedies are available to nip this social malady in the bud. To answer these, a multi-pronged, holistic strategy is required. Following is the mention of socio-legal blueprint to rid our society of this menace.

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