Monday, August 4, 2014

Protect Minors

The disturbing incident reported from Bangalore recently has brought the focus back on the safety of minors. Sexual assault of minors is no longer a crime limited to the ‘big, bad metros’ and Sikkim too has recorded more than a worrying number of such offences. It thus becomes a worry which should be collectively deliberated on more often and discussed more earnestly. It just won’t do to pretend Sikkim is safe for its kids.
Victims always evoke sympathy. When the victims are minors, children as young as six and eight years old, it demands introspection. The society needs to look within and confront itself with a query – what is it doing to keep the children safe? Given the depravation of the present times, it would be near impossible to work out a fool-proof mechanism to protect minors, but does that mean that no efforts are made? Those who commit sexual offences against minors are not just morally depraved they are also psychologically handicapped [in the medical sense of the term]. Their assaults are not just driven by a momentary surge of lust, but are also complicated by an obvious psychiatric condition. It is unlikely that the crime they get arrested for, or have been exposed for, is the only offence they have committed. Given how lax Sikkim is on the need to protect its children, it is more than likely that most such perpetrators are serial offenders. The only protection for children against the advances of such pedophiles is for Sikkim to make the parents and the children more aware.
Sikkim, unfortunately, has always preferred to look at such incidents as aberrations and people who read the news bury their head in the sand believing that this could not happen to them. For the sake of the children, it is required to acknowledge that the danger threatens many more children than Sikkim is willing to admit. Even if it does not, working on a stronger protection mechanism will definitely not be a wasted. The parents and the children need to be educated on how to recognize warning signs, detect abnormal behaviour, communicate more, worry more…

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