Kathmandu, March 18 Contrary to popular perception, sexual abuse of male children has become more common in recent years. Seventeen-year-old Abhinab (name changed) is on medication for depression. He is scared of talking to males. He shared that he faced sexual abuse at the age of 10 at the hands of his seniors when he was in school hostel. “He used to take me to his room and molest me. This continued for four years as he had threatened me not to tell anyone about it,” he said. Abhinab left hostel after four years, but he then developed a strong hatred towards males. “I have also experienced sexual abuse on public transport as a child. He was a middle-aged man and I couldn’t muster the courage to protest.” Likewise, 22-year-old Pradeep (name changed) told The Himalayan Times through a letter that he began to be sexually abused by his own relatives when he was nine years old. He couldn’t share his plight with his parents due to fear. “Boys are traditionally taught to stifle their emotions and hide tears. This makes them keep the abuse they suffer a secret,” said Bishwo Bajracharya, director of Sath Sath, an organisation working for the welfare and rehabilitation of victims of sexual abuse. Bajracharya said they received 15 to 20 calls every day from victims of sexual abuse. “It is not that only girl children face sexual abuse as traditionally thought. Even male children have been facing sexual abuse. As per the global data, 54 per cent of sex abuse victims are boys,” he said. “Although sexual abuse of male children is not uncommon, we lack laws to punish the perpetrators,” said Inspector Kopila Chudal.