Approximately one in four adolescent girls are sexually misused before reaching adulthood, being a victim of molestation, forcible rape, or incest. Less than 50 per cent of these crimes are reported to a physician or law enforcement agency. All victims suffer significant trauma related to their experience, and rarely is the trauma fully resolved unless the sexual misuse is identified and appropriately treated by both medical and legal authorities. Consequently, all physicians who regularly treat children, adolescent girls, and young women must be sensitized to identifying and treating patients who overtly or covertly present as victims of sexual misuse. Whenever sexual abuse of a child by an adult comes to light, strong negative reactions from others are sure to follow. Feelings of disgust and anger toward the assailant and fear of the consequences for the victim are often intense. In the midst of this emotionally charged atmosphere, public agencies, such as law enforcement, protective services, attorneys, hospitals, and physicians, must work closely together to collect information, offer consultation, and decide on an equitable disposition of the incident. The welfare of the victim is paramount, but so is identifying and prosecuting the assailant in order to protect both the victim and the community. The following discussion serves several purposes: to acquaint physicians who may encounter victims of sexual assault with the unique medical problems of sexual assault; to help physicians gain insight into understanding sexual misuse; and to assist in preparing a medicolegal assessment of the problem treating the patient-victim, and testifying in court. Indeed, victims of sexual abuse are special patients who must be treated as such. Insensitivity by the examining physician will adversely affect the patient-victim’s physical and emotional welfare.
Rape is a word that enrages our souls. It is perhaps the worst form of violence happening around the world. It’s a blot on humanity. In present times, we come across this word often, because nowadays, such incidents have become commonplace.
If we are sensitive, then the news touches us; otherwise, we react to the news indifferently thinking it’s just another rape. What’s new in this?
We are humans, but maybe we have lost our humanity. Not only this, we are not even worthy of being called humans because we no longer understand what it means to be human. I am saying this because nowadays, statistics tell us how well we are doing as a society. If we look closely, the figures will show us the dark side of our so-called ‘educated’ society.
In the last six months, i.e. between January 1, 2019, and June 30, 2019, 24, 212 cases of child abuse have been registered in India, which means 4000 cases in a month, 130 in a day and one in every five minutes. These are just the figures of the last six months given to the Supreme Court by the High Courts.
These figures reflect the abominable condition of our society, which does not even spare its children. To the sexual predators, it does not matter if their victim is a 6-month-old child or a 60-year-old woman.
Recently, shameful news came out from Rajasthan, where a 15-year-old minor was taken into custody for raping a 9-month-old girl.
Only a few days ago, in Dwarka Sector 23 in Delhi, a six-year-old girl was brutally raped and left on the roadside. A passer-by saw her and informed the police. Another five-year-old girl was raped at Delhi’s Haridwar railway station.
Recently, a 40-year-old woman was allegedly raped by four people in Karauli district of Rajasthan.
About 130 people face assault in our country every day. How can we bear to live in this society where such cases are increasing day by day?
According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2016 report, rape cases in Delhi increased by 12.4% in 2016 compared to 2015, and about 38,947 rape cases were registered in the country in 2016. If we talk about the previous figures, about 5484 cases of rape were registered in 2010. There were 7,112 cases in 2011, 36,975 in 2014, and in 2019, 24,212 cases have been registered in the last six months.
Out of the 24,212 cases, 11,981 are currently under investigation, the police have filed a charge sheet in 12,231 cases, but only 6,449 of these cases are undergoing a trial. In 4,871 cases, the trial has not started yet. The trial court has so far ruled in 911 cases, which is only 4% of the total number.
The Supreme Court has directed to establish special courts in every district for the hearing of cases related to sexual exploitation of children. The SC said that these specialized courts would only hear sexual harassment cases related to children and also directed the center to set up these courts within 60 days.
I don’t think we can improve this situation just by setting up courts. What about the moral degradation of our society?
Do you remember when an 8-month-old baby girl was raped in Delhi? I want to ask those who blame a woman’s clothes for rape–how would you justify this child’s rape? It is very sad that some people in our society think like this. We stop our women and girls from stepping out of their homes at night and blame them if something happens. The victim-blaming keeps going on, but we never try to understand the real reason behind this. We never understand our fault. We are not ready to accept our mistakes as a society. We are not prepared to change our thinking. Why don’t we stop our boys? Why don’t we teach them to respect women?