Desperate kids

The incidents of paedophilia are on the rise in the Valley. According to estimates, as many as 30 per cent of all children are abused one way or another; a bulk of them sexually. Though the 11th Amendment of the Civil Act and Child Act 1992 makes “unnatural sexual acts” with children punishable by up to 10 years in prison and Rs 25,000 in fines, loopholes in laws have rendered these provisions redundant. Of the eight cases filed with the Kathmandu District Court and Lalitpur Appellate Court against paedophiles between 1995 and 1999 only one offender was penalised. The absence of clinching evidence allows most of the molesters get away scot-free.

Child sex abuse is a highly sensitive issue. The taboo attached to it bars most victims and their families from seeking justice. This, in turn, ensures that most offenders get away unpunished and the emotional toll on the abused children remains un-addr-essed for a long time and possibly forever. Low self-e-steem, distrust of adults and negative attitude tow-ards sex are some of the common symptoms the molested children develop in the long-run. Moreover, child molestation is a vicious cycle. Most of those molested go on to become child abusers themsel-ves. The society needs to engage in more discussions on child abuse and fill in the legal loopholes. Similarly, the children should be encouraged to report unw-anted approach by adults and the victims need to be given proper treatment and protection. The country’s future is linked with today’s children; ensuring their well being is akin to protecting the nation’s health.