Illustration: ALVA SKOG/ALVA SKOG at Jelly

Madrisha Debnath

According to the data of National Crime Record Bureau, 2018, shockingly, 109 children in India, faced some form of child sexual abuse every day.

21,605 child rape cases took place (21,401 cases of rapes of girls and 204 of boys) and 67,134 children went missing (including 19,784 males, 47,191 females and 159 transgender children).

I would like to apologize to my readers for starting the blog in an uncomfortable mood of unease, distress and discomfort. The emotions that one feels realizing that 109 is not just a number and what each child might have gone through, leaves a person numb for at least a while. However, in spite of the emotions felt, most of us just continue our routine work and perform our daily chores.

Why don’t we pause for a moment to try and understand the grievous problem of child abuse, and educate ourselves, so that we can prevent it from taking place. Don’t we want to create a better world for our younger generation?

We as adults will all agree to the point that children at any cost should feel loved and protected from the plagued world of several abuses. We as responsible adults can’t fail our children as they hold the oars to the ship of tomorrow. So how do we do this then?

For starters, we can talk to them more openly and comfortably regarding various forms of abuses and systemic violence. We can make children aware about “safe and unsafe touch so that it helps them recognize abuse in a language they understand.

Measures should be taken to promote child and family well-being. The issue of child abuse can be prevented through community programs, systems, and support and interventions at different levels. Each one of us can take part, spread the word and help raise awareness around the issue in our family, neighborhood and community.

Since 90% of abusers are known to the victim it is very important that we build a strong relationship of trust and care for children to open up and disclose abuse at its onset. It would also help if trusted adults could be vigilant and responsive towards even the slightest change in a child’s regular behavioural pattern.

Let us come together and work towards creating a better world – one that’s free from abuse, neglect and violence against children so that no child misses out the opportunity of growing in a safe and happy environment. You never know, your intervention could be all that it takes to ensure the 109 does not become a 110.