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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Maneka Gandhi Invites Insia Dariwala To Conduct A Study On Prevalence Of Male Child Sexual Abuse

  • IWB Post
  •  April 26, 2018

“When I started my Change.org petition, I didn’t expect it to connect with so many people. This announcement by the Honourable Minister is overwhelming,” says a jubilant Insia Dariwala.

Insia, when she initiated the Change.org petition EndTheIsolation, could have hardly fathomed the magnitude of the impact that it was going to bring about. As we have already introduced you all to Insia last year, she is a filmmaker and the founder of ‘The Hands Of Hope Foundation‘. She started the organisation to address child sexual abuse in India.

A child abuse survivor herself, Insia started the foundation along with her husband, Rajiv Pandey, who also happens to be a survivor child sexual abuse. The husband-wife duo also launched an online campaign, ‘End The Isolation‘ where male child abuse survivors came forward to share their stories not only to redeem themselves of their dark past but also to encourage other such survivors to speak about their experiences and not be afraid.

Fueled by the great response to her organisation, Insia also started a Change.org petition change.org/EndTheIsolation. Through the petition, Insia sought an “in-depth study on male child sexual abuse in India.”

The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, has now responded officially to the petition through a Decision Maker response. Maneka wrote, “A much-neglected sphere of child sexual abuse is male survivors. Child sexual abuse 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.”

After Insia’s petition, which gathered support from over 130,000 Indian citizens, was brought to Maneka’s notice in September 2017, she instructed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to probe the issue of male survivors of child sexual abuse.

After that, a conference was organised by the NCPCR on International Child Rights Day in November 2017. The conference was held to form a core team to come up with solutions on tackling Male Child Sexual Abuse.

During the same conference, Insia presented a preliminary research conducted with 160 male survivors of sexual abuse from across the country. As expected, the research brought to light some very disturbing insights which also included 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 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.

One of the recommendations from this conference which is currently under consideration is a call to amend existing schemes for victims of CSA, to also include compensation for boys who have been sexually abused or raped.

Yet another conference is being organised by the NCPCR is today on the same issue in New Delhi to continue its efforts. The aim is to arrive at holistic solutions to different issues concerning sexual abuse of children.

When IWB spoke to Insiya in August last year she explained why she has specifically taken up the cause of male child sexual abuse. She shared, “In the case of boys, society is in denial that they can get raped or sexually molested. Many times they are pressurized by society to pass off their sexual abuse as a rite of passage. Adult males have confided in me about how the abuse has affected different aspects of their life. They have shared how because of the misconceptions surrounding sexual abuse on boys, it has been difficult for them to trust anyone.”

“This announcement by the Honourable Minister is overwhelming. It is a phenomenal step towards addressing a much-neglected area of child abuse that is buried due to the deep stigma attached to it and manifests itself in several other forms of violence. I can say out of personal experience that hundreds and thousands of male survivors of child abuse have been waiting for this kind of a focus on the issue,” Insiya said, commenting on the outcome of her efforts.

 

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