Let’s break the myths about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) – Series 1

Together let’s combat child sexual abuse-sankalp

Are boys also victims of CSA?

Each time Sankalp conducts an awareness session on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) to adults/teachers/parents, in the myths and facts session, the fact that “MEN AND BOYS CAN BE ABUSED” calls for a lot of attention and discussion. Some stakeholders find it difficult to absorb the fact that boys are also vulnerable and victims of CSA.  Hence in this series let’s understand how boys are vulnerable.   

With masculine gender socialization, it’s no wonder that our society expects boys to be able to protect themselves and never portray them as being vulnerable, either physically, sexually, or emotionally. Despite the gender stereotypes, all children are vulnerable to CSA and boys are not any exception.

Study on Child Abuse: India 2007[1], reported that contrary to the general perception, the overall percentage of sexual abuse on boys was much higher than that of girls.  As per the findings, 53.22% of children faced one or more forms of sexual abuse; among them, the number of boys abused was 52.94%.  Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest percentage of sexual abuse among both boys and girls.

Many boys suffer from CSA, but they don’t reveal due to shame, guilt and fear of disapproval as a “boy” by society. As a strategy to cope with their helplessness they become either aggressive or try to suppress the feeling with alcohol or drugs or may get depressed.

A study indicates[2] that sexual abuse or premature sexual experiences play a role in defining sexual identity or sexual orientation. It is common, for boys and men who have been abused to express confusion about their sexual identity and orientation.

Given the vulnerability, boys should be taught to be realistic and not fall prey to gender-based expectations. It is imperative to let them know that CSA can happen to them too and they should reach out to trusted adults for creating emotionally safe environments.  As responsible adults, we must teach them how to recognize, react, report abuse, whom to reach out for help, and forming safe circles around them.

Awareness is one of the most powerful weapons against child sexual abuse. Sankalp in the year 2016, has developed and initiated a project called Project PANTS. The project aims to facilitate stakeholders to Recognize, React and Report (3Rs) Child Sexual Abuse. These sessions are conducted in the play way method with activities that will enable children to understand their bodies, safe and unsafe touch, perpetrators of violence, developing support systems, and self-protection. Currently, Sankalp is conducting virtual awareness sessions for teachers and parents.

Do reaches us at sankalp@sathguru.com for sessions on CSA for teachers and adults

Author:

Raja Rajeswari
Associate Vice President – Development


[1] Study on Child Abuse: India 2007: http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/childabuseIndia.pdf

[2] Silence of male child sexual abuse in India: Qualitative analysis of barriers for seeking psychiatric help in a multidisciplinary unit in a general hospital – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5547862/

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