Social stigma sidelining child rape victims: Report

Pritam Pal Singh
The study by DCPCR, along with the Human Development Society, covered 100 child victims 94 girls and 6 boys, aged between 2 and 18 years of rape cases reported in 2017-18. It was released earlier this month. (Representational Image)

Social consequences of rape are hugely prejudicial to victims of sexual abuse and their families, as people, in general, do not see victims in the right perspective, a study by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has found. It further observed that instead of making the perpetrators responsible for the act, social stigma is attached to victims and their families who are often pushed to the margins of society .

The study by DCPCR, along with the Human Development Society, covered 100 child victims 94 girls and 6 boys, aged between 2 and 18 years of rape cases reported in 2017-18. It was released earlier this month.

It also highlighted rape as the most important factor among victims for dropping out of school. The principal reason is related to the incident of rape, as 33% (the highest of all) cite legal procedure, social stigma, safety and health concerns following rape as reasons for dropping out of studies.

While 14% each noted financial crisis and lack of interest in study as the reason; 10% children dropped out due to the need of special schools; 7% did so due to illness of parents and families responsibilities. The sample also has 10% victims who are either living with accused or are planning to marry the culprit, the study said.

It added that rape victims, mostly girls, suffer from different types of illness, like lower abdominal pain, anaemia or weakness, for which 81% of the parents are unable to meet healthcare challenges of their children due to lack of money .

The challenge for 24% parents is rooted in their inability to spend long time for treatment… as it adversely affects their work as wage labour and work-related commitments… There are 14% parents whose inability to discuss health issues of child with doctors due to social stigma act as an obstruction to fulfilling health needs, it states.

It added that 57% families of child victims face challenges to their livelihood following the incidence of rape: … livelihood challenges are being faced by 56% families of girls victims and 67% families of victims who are boys.