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Ending the scourge of child sexual abuse

  • Published at 12:01 am May 30th, 2019
Child Abuse
Photo: BIGSTOCK

We must invest in children; for example, girls need to be empowered

The numbers are nothing if not horrifying: According to Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), a non-profit social welfare organization, in the last five months alone, 233 children were raped, of which 18 died.

These numbers, terrible as they are, do not even speak to the whole picture, where a vast number of rapes and attempted rapes go unreported and unacknowledged every day.

Children are the most vulnerable group in society and clearly, we are failing them badly.

It is imperative that the authorities treat the problem of child sexual abuse as the utmost priority, and bring an end to this curse that is eating away at the fabric of society.

First of all, a comprehensive legal framework and set of policies are required, but that will mean nothing if adequate monitoring and enforcement is not in place.

Secondly, we must invest in children; for example, girls need to be empowered through education, health, life skills, and counselling, and this goes hand in hand with comprehensive education on sex and sexuality, the child’s rights, and the meaning of consent.

Toxic attitudes still pervade our society regarding the place of children, and their rights are often all but ignored by well-intentioned adults -- we must fight these attitudes if we are to make any meaningful progress.

MJF deserves praise for starting a campaign to raise awareness against child rape and harassment, and we hope a loud voice can be raised -- a voice that says enough is enough, child abuse has no place in any civilized society, and all those found guilty of it will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.