Three years after the conclusion of the war against terrorism, the country is at a different war today. While many a cry is raised against the rampant rape rate of children, the law enforcement authorities as well as the parents seem equally helpless when it comes to providing protection for children.
Police media spokesman, Ajith Rohana went on record to say that 975 cases of child rape and abuse have been reported within the last six months. The alarming number leaves the question as to how children become easy preys to perpetrators when they are supposed to be under the care of parents and guardians. Though often it is blamed on the complacency of law or lethargy of the law enforcement authorities, it is none other than the parents’ negligence that brings misery to their children. If one closely follows the heart-breaking stories of the recently-victimized children, one would see that none of the children were parentless. The misconception that children who live with their parents are safe from the greedy eyes of rapists has been long busted. The alarming reports that flood the newsrooms every day go to show that even the most populated public places, such as schools, are not safe havens for children anymore if the parents do not keep track of their activities and timetables.
Perhaps, the other major factor that poses a grave threat to the protection of the children is, the entrusting of their guardianship to a third party by the parents. It is not only the parents who leave for foreign employment, but also those who depend on the neighbour, the driver of the school van, the tuition teacher or even the games coach of the school are at fault. The recent tragedies scream aloud that a relative is as untrustworthy as a faceless goon. The guardianship of a child is not a minute matter that a parent can entrust to the first person whom he/she sees on the road.
This disturbing trend needs an immediate ending.
Educating parents and children on the possible dangers, is the most crucial part of fencing rape. If a child does not know the nature and the forms of abuse, he/she would not see the need to seek help. This again poses the question whether sex education needs to be a taboo subject in the school curriculum anymore.
A few years ago, the government together with a few other institutions ran a successful campaign against child labour. It made people stop and look twice at the raggedly-clothed kids who emerged from supermarkets with bags full of groceries. The public was empowered to speak for the hapless souls, thus it becomes a responsibility of every citizen to report injustice of such nature.
Let’s not blame the laws; for they are essential to mete out justice for the victims. As a public we should be looking after the children who do not deserve the title ‘victim.’ Increasing public awareness and constant reminders to be vigilant seem to be the best way to save children from the phaedophiles.
After all, we have done it once with parcel bombs and suicide bombers-rapists cannot be a big deal!