Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi Wednesday extended her support to a petition by a filmmaker-activist who said that “male child sexual abuse is an ignored reality in India”. Maneka in a reply to the petition said that a first-of-its-kind study on male survivors of child sexual abuse would be conducted.
“Another much neglected sphere of child sexual abuse is male survivors. Child sexual abuse (CSA) 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,” she said in her response to the petition on Change.org by filmmaker Insia Dariwala.
The minister said that following the petition, she had in September 2017 instructed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to look into the issue.
The NCPCR held a conference in this regard in November last year.
“As per the recommendations that emerged from the conference, it was unanimously decided that there should be an amendment to the existing scheme for the victims of CSA to also include compensation for boys who have been sexually abused or raped,” she said.
During this conference, the NCPCR studied a preliminary research conducted by Dariwala which included 160 male survivors of sexual abuse from across the country.
The study revealed a possible correlation between unresolved sexual trauma on boys and increasing violence on women and children.
“Based on this study, the NCPCR has decided to invite Insia, with due support from Adrian Philips of Justice and Care, to conduct a larger study on male survivors of child sexual abuse, starting with observation homes, and special needs homes,” she said.
The last official study on child sexual abuse was conducted by the WCD Ministry in 2007, where it was found that 53.2 per cent of children had experienced one or more form of sexual abuse. Of this, 52.9 per cent were boys.
The WCD Ministry had in February announced that it would consider measures to help adult survivors of child sexual abuse report their abusers based on a Change.org petition by Purnima Govindarajulu, a conservation biologist based in Canada.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights will hold a consultation on ‘Preventive Strategy on Child Sexual Abuse’ in New Delhi tomorrow to finalise cogent, potent and effective preventive measures on child sexual abuse.