Now a days, the topic of child abuse has become a burning issue even in our country. In order to unravel the causes behind child abuse, it is indispensable and absolutely important to talk about the mental disorder or illness called paedophilia. Some researchers attribute it to an addiction, others demonstrate it as sexual orientation. This can be explained as the erotic desire of an adult person towards pre-pubescent children, typically under the age of 13. But medical officers say, a pedophile would be minimum 16 years of age and will be five years older than the child victim. But, if I talk about our country's condition, most of the pedophiles are male adults.
Researchers also assert that for some unknown reasons there are more male than female pedophiles. Pedophilia is often paralleled with child molestation. But the researchers assert that there are so many pedophiles who do not molest children and believe that sex with children is wrong. The problem is they feel eroticised towards the children and love to get intimate with them. So, this disorder or condition needs to be identified and treated as soon as possible.
It can be differentiated between a pedophile and a child abuser or molester as follows: A child molester does this crime intentionally and does not consider this harmful for children. They are directly criminals and can be equally categorised as rapists. What pedophiles might do is also a crime but in many cases they feel guilty about it. They often feel pleasure by just being intimate with the children in a wrong way. Whatever the case is, children are the victims here and at any time these patients with disorder can cause harm to the children without even knowing what they are doing.
According to research, this disorder can be synchronised with other disorders such as impulse control disorder, addiction, Kleptomania, or antisocial personality disorder. Some pedophiles are also found to have chromosomal abnormalities.
But the purpose of writing this article is to safeguard our children from the abusers and the pedophiles. Most people might imagine pedophiles as ugly looking grotesque men dressed in shabby clothes hiding behind the tree waiting to snatch young children off the street. But in most cases, they are not strangers, rather can be local neighbours, trusted friends, private tutors, baby sitters, or even family members.
So, it is my urge to all the parents at home and the working ones to keep a sharp eye on the surroundings and people for the sake of children's safety. Never ever ignore your children whenever they come around you with complaints of being abused or tortured or annoyed by an adult or anyone. As a parent, you can make a difference by educating children about the incidents, prevalence of this problem and danger of childhood sexual abuse. The children should have ample knowledge about their sexual organs and should know how an abuser can annoy or exploit them. I also need to stress upon the fact that danger lies not at the hands of the strangers but at the hands of those whom we often trust quickly.
Abusing a child sexually might involve various activities including both penetrative and non-penetrative activities such as kissing, touching, or fondling the child's genital or breasts, vaginal, or anal intercourse or oral sex etc. Over two decades of research have demonstrated potential negative impact of these sort of child abuse that might result in a child's poor self-esteem, aggressive behaviour, suicide attempts, use of illicit drugs in the long run.
It is much agonising to point out some hearts rending incidents of child abuse and murder in our country. We cannot forget how four-year-old Tanha was brutally murdered after being raped by a demon named Shipon. The rapist strangled Tanha as he failed to stop her scream and saw her bleeding after raping her. The accused even narrated the horrifying tale of how he had committed the crime before dumping the body of the minor girl in the toilet.
Between January and June, 319 incidents of rape were reported by the media and among them 229 children were raped in the last seven months. By educating children and making the parents cautious, we might get success in preventing child abuse. But what about rape and murder? The increasing number of rape incidents where children are victims is making our minds numb and paranoid. More children are abused, physically tortured and murdered in our country. How can we save our innocent children from the demonic clutch? Only by ensuring proper punishment, the highest level of punishment for the rape criminals, we can lower the incidents of rape and abuse. So, the conscious people of this society are requested to protest against these and shout out to ensure the due punishment to the criminals at any cost. They can campaign for ensuring justice through mass media, social media, strike, discussion or what so ever.
This society has become a land of monsters who are ready to attack the innocent souls, our children, in order to satisfy their vicious and savage urges. So, incidents like child rape and abuse are taking place on without justice. No wonder most of the child abuse incidents are committed by uneducated men. But it never justifies that the educated group will never be a threat to your children. So you should be vigilant and cautious at every level to safeguard the beauty of the childhood of your children.
The writer is a Lecturer at the Dept of English Studies, State University of Bangladesh.