CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND THE UNNARRATED BODIES
Child sexual abuse (CSA) has remained one of the most tabooed subjects in the Indian context even when a lot many people have suffered multiple forms of sexual abuse in their childhoods. Sexual violence is an umbrella term for acts of direct physical contact, and exposure to sexual language and media. While every child whether male, female, transgender, intersex etc. is prone to sexual abuse, data reveals that female children find themselves more vulnerable.
Child sexual abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse in India, still a very few cases get officially reported. The reason behind this remains social ostracism.
Anything related to sex, whether pleasure or abuse, has remained inside the closet of the tightly formed social setups. There are communities where the role of women is just that of reproduction and keeping care of their families.
Child sexual abuse has remained a hush hush topic even within the well-educated urban families, keeping aside the tightly knit rural setups.
Gender plays an important role in deciding how the bodies get treated in a society. Body is the site of abuse, and it is the narratives of these bodies which find so less space in the cultural setups.
From the laws which define women as the weaker sex to protect their rights against the hostilities meted out to them to the texts which treat her as an object, the category of woman finds innumerable explanations for being the second sex. A female body has always been defined as the site where power is imposed, what it lacks instead of what it has, and the concepts assigned to it.
From gifting dolls, kitchen toy sets and pink dresses to a female child to teaching her the right ways to act, to be feminine, to be shy, to remain virgin till marriage, to treat her menstruation as a taboo which should never be discussed, to bear children in the right age, to be a nourisher, giver, passive and everything which is treated as natural is actually the very formation of the category of woman. For more information on the formation of identities and gender identities click on these links https://blogopine.com/the-matter-of-identity/ , https://blogopine.com/gender-identity/
Mass culture has played a crucial role in strengthening the binaries, and at the same time it has allowed the participation of those who were left on the margins. While there was a time when only a certain section of society was able to voice their issues, in recent times the advent of social media, short films, the popularity of life writings has made a huge difference in gender expression and perception.
The issues surrounding women have been voiced through language, texts, films, etc., but how far these issues have been treated with authenticity is still a question.
There are popular depictions of child sexual abuse where a girl from the higher strata of society is sexually abused and then is damaged for life time. The authenticity of these happenings cannot be questioned. One can only question the absence of those narratives which are more on streets than on screens or books.
From the streets of small towns to the highways of metropolitans, one cannot ignore the traffic, garbage and the malnourished, less clothed or even un- clothed, children.
A scene in a movie or serial, or some pages of the texts can gain sympathy, and offer some connection and disconnection at the same time as we know that whatever is happening is scripted and the roles are being played by those who are just acting the script. We can accept the possibility of such happenings and deny them at the same time, but what you see in front of your eyes finds little scope for disapproval.
Child sexual abuse is one of the most common issues voiced on TV and books, but how far the dire narratives find a place in the mainstream is still a question.
As per the data 109 children are sexually abused every day in India and the data has ever been on the rise. While the data assures that children are being abused each and every day, but at the same time the number of cases put a question mark on this data itself. Is it possible that in a country where millions of people find themselves homeless living on the streets and a large number of children are still far away from schools lacking basic knowledge about good touch and bad touch, has so less number of sexual abuse cases?
In most of the cases the abuser is known to the victim- a friend, relative etc. Child sexual abuse is not only related to physical damage, but also to mental health. Sexual abuse victims often experience anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and failed relationships in their later lives.
Child sexual abuse has remained a tabooed topic till date. While a wide number of mass cultural representations have made some impact on the perception of people, but there is still a long away to go. Children are meant to be protected and education and nutrition is their right, but a lot many questions move in the forefront when such incidents come up on daily basis.