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Wednesday, October 23, 2019


The hole in my soul


It’s the most depraved act and yet the most difficult to crack
ANIL PANDEY | Issue Dated: May 13, 2007
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The hole in my soul The innocent eyes of Saira (name changed) reveal that she is still to come of age. All of 13, seen much more than required, she has an aspiration to reach for the sky. She wants to live and fly like a lark. Sadly, destiny has different plans for her. She starts her day and ends it in a dark and shabby cell. Saira is a prostitute in the notorious G.B. Road red light area of Delhi. She eloped with a neighbour two years ago. After sexually exploiting her all the while, he sold her to a pimp. Saira tells TSI, “He used to give me chocolates and that’s why I liked him. I fell in his trap. I used to call him ‘Uncle’. I could not have dreamt that he would sexually exploit me.” This is the bitter reality of our society. There are numerous incidents where children have been exploited by people close to them. Saira is just an example. If you talk of sexual exploitation, boys outnumber girls as victims. These incidents leave a deep imprint on their psyche. Such children become vulnerable to depression and are susceptible to developing criminal mentality.

Statistics of the recently released Union government report on child abuse named Study on Child Abuse, India-2007 are startling and appalling at the same time. The study, conducted in 13 states across India, concludes that almost 50% of the total sexual abuse cases involve close relatives. It further states that in more than 70% of the cases, the abuse goes unreported. It has further classified abuse into three broad categories, namely physical, emotional and sexual. Further, study suggests that two out of every three children are subjected to physical abuses. An astonishing 83% of children are exploited by their parents.

The study also suggests that child trafficking is rampant in India to employ them as labour and prostitutes. Bhuwan, a noted social activist who has filed numerous PILs in the Supreme Court of India against child labour, puts it rather candidly, “In India, you can buy a child at a price that shall not fetch you even a buffalo. In places like Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand, you can trade children at anything between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000. In these states, you can consider yourself lucky if you get a buffalo at anything less than Rs 10,000.”

A physically and mentally abused child develops fear, leading to depression. That is why they cannot perform well in any walk of life. Noted Psychiatrist and professor of Clinical-Psychology in Delhi University, Dr. Ritu Chaudhary, says, “Abused children often grow up to become stubborn and short tempered, which affects their social behaviour. They succumb to depression and become numb. This turns them in to a violent individual and makes them vulnerable to criminal activities.” She maintains that the need of the time is to save children from getting abused.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017