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India must end silence on sexual abuse of children, says Kailash Satyarthi

Mumbai: Child rights activist and Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Thursday called for "ending the silence" on sexual abuse of children and underlined the need for an effective judiciary to deal with perpetrators of such crime.

"Around 53 percent of children have faced some kind of sexual abuse. To put an end to this, our love for children should go beyond the confines of our homes. Any child's abuse is our child's abuse, this is the mindset that needs to be adopted," Satyarthi said as part of his 'Surakshit Bachpan Surakshit Bharat' (Safe Childhood-Safe India) campaign at the YB Chavan auditorium in Mumbai.

He said that in the past, extensive campaigns have been launched to make education a basic right, which received the support of lawmakers and thus brought about the desired result.

"This is a different fight. Children who have been sexually abused are not ready to speak up. Children fear in telling their parents about it. Even if they tell their parents, the parents do not speak up to save their prestige. Many children do not even realise they have been sexually abused," he said.

"This silence on child abuse has to end now and the issue needs to be taken head-on. We have to take a resolve that we will not let one more case of sexual abuse take place now," he added.

Satyarthi said that as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures, there are around 4,800 cases of sexual abuse of children in Maharashtra and around 15,000 cases are pending in courts.

"Only in 4 percent cases have the perpetrators been awarded a punishment. In six per cent cases, perpetrators have secured release. The remaining 90 percent cases are pending. We will hold talks with judges over this issue," he said.

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