Hyderabad: Unable to express their trauma, much less overcome it, children who are sexually abused face a horrifying time as memories of the crime haunt them. Such children suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and become introverts in nature, confining themselves to a closed circle.
The increasing number of cases of child sexual abuse and the fact that abusers in most cases are closely related to them, is a cause for concern. In the last two months, at least five cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the city, the abuser very closely related to the child. In two instances, the children were abused by their fathers.
In order to identify child sexual abuse that generally goes unreported due to lack of awareness among children and parents, Cyberabad police recently started Bala Mitra, a programme under which teachers at schools interact with children and find out incidents of abuse which can be reported to police.
After one-and-a-half months of the initiative, around 15 incidents of abuse of minors were brought to the notice of police and enquiry cases registered.
In an incident in the city, a seven-year-old girl was sexually abused by a relative. A case was registered by police and the accused arrested. Her agony did not end even after about two months of the incident.
“The child was victimised by a known person. She was gagged and assaulted. Now she suffers a sleeping disorder, as she has been getting nightmares related to that incident. After repeated counselling, a little change was noticed and she will recover in some time,” said Dr M. Lavanya, a city-based psychotherapist.
She stated that once victimised, the child fears to make friends or mingling with relatives or strangers, as s/he suffers post-traumatic disorder stress. In many instances, such children when they grow up suffer a failed marital life.
In one case, a woman was sexually abused by her father during childhood for eight years. She is now in her early thirties and an introvert. She married a man after falling love in him but is unable to have a happy marital life as she still suffers from the trauma. “Children give hints, mostly to their mothers. It may be a behavioral change or reluctance to be with a family member or a relative. Parents should notice the change and talk to the children," said Dr Lavanya.
Believing that awareness is the only tool to prevent instances of sexual abuse by known persons, Cyberabad DCP C Anasuya said, “Awareness of parents and children is the only tool. Parents should believe their children when they complain about unusual behaviour by a person and try to ensure that the incident does not repeat, instead of neglecting it.”
The DCP said that with the increase in awareness, the reporting of incidents also increases, and this is just the tip of the iceberg as several cases go unreported due to lack of awareness.
The official said that the children should be taught how to recognise signs of abuse and need to be taught to speak about the incident to their mother, teacher or father.
“Alternative ways of identifying and complaining about the issue are to be explained to the children. They should be taught to retaliate and complain,” Ms Anasuya said....