Sexual violence is defined as intentional behavior with the primary goal of severely humiliating the victims and undermining their sense of humanity. One form of sexual violence is child sexual abuse. It covers child prostitution and pornography, as well as harassment and rape.
Sexual abuse is a grave violation of a child’s rights that can cause the victim to suffer from severe physical and psychological distress. A 2002 World Health Organisation (WHO) research estimated that 223 million children have experienced physical contact-based sexual assault. Compared to males, girls are more frequently the victims of sexual abuse.
Around 150 million females were assaulted, compared to 73 million boys, according to a WHO report. In Sri Lanka, the National Child Protection Act No. 50 of 1998 also describes the child protection laws. Accordingly, there are legal principles in this regard in the law of Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka more than 40,000 child abuse complaints were recently revealed.
At the moment, we can see slogans like “Child Abuse laws should be implemented immediately” and “Child Abuse should be given the death penalty”.
Sri Lanka has very strict laws and severe punishments against child abuse. But will the death penalty for child abuse and rape end everything? I do not think so. If we assume that people will not commit crimes due to the fear of punishment, the percentage of serious crimes such as murders should be reduced in our country. But it has not happened that way. What we should focus on is why a person becomes a criminal.
As a law graduate, I have heard a lot about child abuse cases. In the statements of the victims who give evidence in these cases to the Police and the evidence given in Court, one of the things that is clear is that they have ‘severe ignorance’. What do they not know about? The children do not know whether the perpetrators have committed Child abuse or not, they don’t know who might commit such a crime, they don’t know how to recognize that such a crime is likely to happen, and they don’t know about the steps to take when such a crime happens or is about to happen.
We all know that child abuse can happen to any child below 18. Because of this ignorance, children are helpless and they don’t even understand what happened to them as they are abused by their own father, brother, relatives, teacher, etc.
Accordingly, what is needed to put an end to this tragic situation is the simple solution of turning ignorance into awareness. Because of this ignorance, the children who face child abuse often suffer from physical and mental illnesses. As a result, children suffering from mental illnesses and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are also growing rapidly. Furthermore, pupils are unable to complete their education as intended because of this. Their entire existence is convoluted.