Sherin Bosko, co-founder at NGO Nakshatra, a rape crisis centre, said that the child’s statement matters here – more than the scientific evidence.
“The weightage is the child’s evidence and if it is not a speedy trial – which is often the case – imagine the trauma for the girl. I have come across a similar case where a girl who can hardly speak was sexually assaulted and the case has been dragging for years. In this case (and all others), I hope that the system is kind to the children and ensures a speedy trial. We need the same kind of anger for all cases of child sexual abuse,” said the social activist.
Andrew Sesuraj, state convener of Tamil Nadu Child Rights Observatory (TNCRO), said that the concern is to educate parents and teachers on recognising when a child is being abused.
“It is strange to see that nobody has identified the abuse. Either the child would have been intimidated into sub-mission, in which case, the child would have expressed fear or lack of trust, or the child was groomed to believe that it is a game,” said Sesuraj.
“While we have been teaching children to identify good and bad touch, we need to sensitise parents and teachers on identifying symptoms of abuse, even if the child is not speaking,” said the activist and faculty of Loyola College.
S Namburajan, State General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled & Caregivers — TARATDAC, said that the state government should take stringent steps to curb sexual abuse of differently-abled children. “Sexual attacks against differently-abled girl children continues in Tamil Nadu. In Sivagangai, a 17-year-old hearing impaired girl was raped and killed in a village, while another such instance has happened in Aynavaram,” said Namburajan.
“In Theni’s Raayappanpatti village, a 14-year-old minor with intellectual disability was sexually assaulted. We condemn these attacks and urge the state government to conduct mass awareness programmes to curb this,” said the activist.