This happens when social activists are confident of an 80% under-reporting of cases of child sexual abuse. They also say that parents get out of their homes to lodge a police complaint in extreme cases only. The stoic silence over child abuse has been lamented by social activists who documented the issue in the form of a report called 'Breaking the Silence'. Brought out by Human Rights Watch and endorsed by the National Human Right Commission, the report underlines the need to accept that child abuse exists, so that a concrete strategy can be formed to address the problem.
Meenakshi Ganguly, director of Human Rights Watch, South Asia, said that over 80% parents were averse to legal action against the perpetrator, as he is usually known to them, mainly due to fear of stigma. "There is a straight denial not only in case of girls, but even in case of boys," she said. This happens when more boys than girls fall prey to sexual abuse. "Parents also dismiss the problem because of their disbelief. And those who accept feel that ignoring the matter is better than facing stigma," informed Ganguly. Lenin Raghuvanshi of the People Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) stated that stigma is further aggravated by the way police and other stake holders such as government doctors behave. "They have no idea of how to handle the situation in case a small girl has been raped. The way in which they deal is insensitive to the core and illogical at times," he said. Citing an example, Lenin said, the two finger test of virginity is something which has been done away for being unreasonable and unscientific. But that's a piece of evidence in UP.
Then, systemic slackness fails to set a precedent. About two years ago, a group of 15 mothers lodged a complaint with a police station in Allahabad that the headmaster in local school called their daughter one by one under the pretext of health exam, took their clothes off and touched their private parts, while talking to them in a lewd manner. Though a case was registered, the trial is yet to begin.
Joint registrar, NHRC, Anil Parashar, who unveiled the report, said that not only parents, every sensitive individual living in the society must know what children are at the risk of abuse. "Those living in homes are comparatively safer than their counterparts living in slums, streets and homes," he said adding that UP is home to one-fifth missing children, who are highly vulnerable to abuse. Providing a probable solution to the problem, Anshumali Sharma of Childline said that sex education could be an effective means to generate consciousness among children about sexual abuse. "There is something called a 'good touch' and a 'bad touch'. Then the children can always be told that anyone touching their genitals or asking them to act in an abnormal way is not right," he said. Unfortunately, parents in UP, including those belonging to high educational and socio-economic status realms have reservations to the idea of sex education.