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Sexual abuse of children on the rise

By Zodin Sanga

AIZAWL, Nov 20 - Children in Mizoram who form 17.34 per cent of the State�s pollution are at risk of getting sexually abused in schools and even inside their own homes.

�As many as 5,622 cases of abuse of children aged below four years have been recorded during 2012 to 2016,� said James Lalthangmawia, Aizawl district child protection officer, during a press conference here on Saturday, on the occasion of World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

Of the 5,622 cases, 451 were sexually abused, 271 were physically abused, 91 were emotionally abused, 474 were neglected, 662 were devoid of responsible parents, he said. He added that there were 54 children affected by drugs/alcohol addiction, 146 orphans, 189 children given to the government-run homes, 108 abandoned children, 29 child labour, and 24 kidnapped.

During the last three years, there were 1,214 cases of children in conflict with the laws, including 94 offences under Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 45 offences under different drug laws and 659 cases of burglary and theft.

A recent study on child abuse in Mizoram has revealed that most of the cases of child sexual abuse were committed by relatives, friends and teachers of the victims, said Vanramchhuangi, member of Child Welfare Committee.

In the cases recorded by CWC, only a handful of cases were committed by strangers. Most of the cases were committed by the victims� biological fathers, 13 by step- fathers, four by guardians, eight by brothers or cousins, 26 by teachers and 68 by neighbours.

A case study on 61 sexual molestation victims revealed that eight of them were victimised by their own biological fathers, seven by step-fathers, eleven by neighbours, five by teachers and eight by friends or acquaintances, she said.

Questionnaires distributed to 595 children aged between five to 18 further revealed that 30 girls and 156 boys were subjected to at least one form of sexual molestations, including kissing, exhibition and fondling of private parts.

Shockingly, 55.78 per cent of the children who replied to the questionnaires revealed that they were exposed to pornography, 36 per cent inside their own homes. It revealed that 55.56 per cent who had been sexually molested did not disclose it to anyone, which emphasised the need for more awareness among the children.

�From the case study on 61 victims, we found that only one of them received sex education. This particular child avoided attempted rapes for a number of times,� the researcher said.

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