Child Sex Abuse and Pedophilia
By: Hamida Narejo ,Assistant Professor Sindh University
Child sexual abuse is having sex with a child by an adult, adolescent child or an older child. Child sexual abuse is a known factor for ill health. More severe the abuse, worse is the ill health.
Most of the child sexual abuse is done by some mentally below average person who have a lust for sex. Such people are called pedophilic. Pedophilic offenders may be both adult men or women but predominantly men.
The act is mostly done by boys in their late teens, however older people are also involved. This is a
medical condition in which the concentration of a hormone (testosterone) is found more than normal.
Abusers are aggressive and daring in their act. The abuse may be visual showing the minor child the genitals or pornographic materials.
Touching, caressing, embracing, kissing are part of the abuse during the initial encounter followed by intercourse or sodomy. If the other partner resists threat or force is used and rape occurs. The most important reason for pedophilic abusers is pornography. They watch pornographic movies in their bad company and get aroused for the crime. The victims are mostly child before they reach their puberty. In some cases incest has also been reported.
The victims are tempted with sweets and candies, some time money also for their agreement for the act.
In a liberal society like USA more than 65,000 children are abused every year. Men or women who were abused sexually during their childhood suffer trauma even when they become adult.
The emotional trauma inhibits their intention to marry. Such people remain single in their lifetime. The mental trauma makes them difficult to concentrate in cognitive functions and they usually scores low grades in their academics.
The long term impact of child sexual abuse is very damaging to the personality when they grow up. Rarely they are able to forget the trauma and remains aloof, unsocial and submissive throughout their life.
With the passage of time the incidence of pedophilia or child sex abuse is increasing including Pakistan. While the pedophilic should be medically treated, wide awareness of this crime need to be created. The rising incidence in developed countries indicate that it is not the sexual urge alone that make the abusers to act for the crime. It is a lust for victimizing children abusively.
Now a days children are more independent and outgoing. It is therefore very important for the parents to watch their activities outside home.
When the abuse is done within the acquaintances the victim is killed most of the time to avoid the identification. Strangers are rare in the crime.
Child pornography is big business in the under world. In developed countries some mafia under the protection of their dons, abduct children for this purpose. Children from under developed or developing countries like Pakistan are abducted and smuggled to these countries for pornography.
Once the primary objective of pornographic films are done these children are then used as sex workers. In Pakistan this was exposed with the abduction and rape of baby Zainab who was killed after crime more than a decade ago. Child abuse is rampant in Punjab, other provinces are the followers.
Child sexual abuse is not limited to men only. Women also find their prey for abuse but their cases are grossly under reported. Such women hire the services of young boys as home servants.
Sex is an additional service, the young boys in their teens serve the purpose in routine without any inhibition and resistance. Once the women are exposed, the servant is replaced.
Boys who come to the cities for employment or income are hired as home servant to serve the purpose of women.
When the boys become adult and want to marry with proper rituals, they leave their women partners and go back to their village or get proper employment somewhere. In one instance it was reported that one woman made a young boy captive for more than two weeks.
She used the boy two to three times a day and when the boy got exhausted he was set free.
The victim’s environment once they come back home leads to either healthy or maladaptive outcomes. Familial and social support particularly the emotional and psychological part play a very important role in the recovery of the victim. Disclosure is considered to be met by negative reaction, but in fact it is not.
Sometime the child has some trust and intimacy problem in disclosing the abuse. Therefore it is important that the parents have proper understanding of the extent of severity of personal profile disorder. Sometime change of victim’s identity, place of resident, school etc. help to ameliorate the trauma.
The objective in such situation should be the to increase knowledge regarding the relationship between child sexual abuse, disclosure, subjective support and subjective health. The health enhancing social support is needed throughout the life of the victim.
There are NGOs in Pakistan to protect the interest of children. But the problem is that a good majority go unreported mostly in rural areas. The crime is known only to the victim and her parents who avoid any kind of publicity for fear of reputation. It is time that the parents should be encouraged to report any such abuse with their children. Children should also be made aware that they should not go with any other relatives or acquaintances alone.
They should also be made aware to refuse any kind of temptation be it in kind (sweets, candy) or money.
By: Hamida Narejo
University of Sindh Jamshoro