Patterns of Child Sexual Abuse and Relationship among Secondary School Students in the Rajasthan
Dr. Indu Bansal (HOD)
An investigation into the characteristics of child sexual abuse in the Rajasthan was conducted. A total of 414 secondary school students in standard 9 and 10 in three representative secondary schools completed a retrospective self-rating questionnaire in a classroom setting. The questionnaire asked about childhood sexual abuse and the victim–perpetrator relationship. Results shows an overall (N D 414) child sexual abuse 60% for males (N D 193), 53.2% for females (N D 216). Among them, 86.7% were kissed sexually, 60.9% were touched sexually, and 28.9% were victims of oral/anal/vaginal intercourse. “Friend” was the highest indicated perpetrator in all patterns of sexual abuse. Many victims (86.7%) perceived themselves as not sexually abused as a child, and many (50.2%) rated their childhood as “very happy.” A call is made for more research, publicity, and campaigns in the area of child sexual abuse in the Province.
Key words- child sexual abuse; pattern; victim-perpetrator relationship;
Dr. Bansal I., and Monika (2012) Patterns of Child Sexual Abuse and Relationship Among Secondary School Students in the Rajasthan
Child sexual abuse is one of the social problems that call for urgent attention in all countries. A sample of university female students of contact forms of sexual abuse (i.e. actual or attempted intercourse, oral or manual genital contact, sexual kissing, hugging, or touching) has been reported to be 30.9% (Levett, 1989a, b) and 34.8% (Collings, 1997). For both contact and noncontact forms of abuse (i.e. contact abuse plus exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual threats or invitations), the reported to be 43.6% in female university students in Banasthali . For male university students, Jaipur reported a rate of 28.9% for contact and noncontact forms.
The Child Protection Units of the Rajasthan Police Services identified during the first 6 months in 2012, a total of 19,805 cases of crimes against children less than 18 years of age, of which child sexual abuse were 7968 (40%) (Rape: 7363, sodomy: 480 and incest: 125) Although the patterns of sexual abuse (i.e. sexual kisses, touches, oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse; and whether physical force was involved or not) and some characteristics, such as victim– perpetrator relationships, were considered, it has been established that they can vary from region to region (Fromuth and Burkhart, 1987; Peters et al., 1986; Finkelhor,1979; Leth, 1994). Thus the present study in the Banasthali and Jaipur Province of Rajasthan.
Bayley and Kings (1990) explained child sexual abuse to be when an adult or person significantly older or in a position of power interacts with a child in a sexual way for the gratification of the older person. This study limits itself to any Contact form of sexual abuse (among the secondary school students) which took place before the age of 17 years. The perpetrator must be an adult or a person at least 5 years older than the child or a person in a position of power.
The Rajasthan has a population of 5.4 million inhabitants. Among them, 97.1% are blacks, 0.1% are coloured, 0.1% are Asians, and 2.7% are whites. Males comprise 45.7% and females 54.3%. Many inhabitants live in poor economic and medical conditions. In Rajathan, if a child indicates that he or she has been sexually touched by an adult—where the adult is known—it is required by law that the information be revealed to the police, or to a Commissioner of Child Welfare or a social worker.
Participants for this study were all standard nine and ten secondary (high) school students in three schools in the jaipur. One school is situated in an urban area (Banasthali). Schools were randomly chosen and the representative character of each of them was confirmed by the Department of Education of the Province. Standard nine and ten secondary school students were chosen because the authors believe that they are mature enough to have the courage to report their sexually abusive experiences, and at the same time their ages are expected not to be too far above our operational maximum age for child sexual abuse (16 years). This would give them the maximum opportunity to remember what happened before they were 17. The total number of participants was 414: 193 (46.6%) males, 216 (52.2%) females, and 5 (1.2%) did not indicate their gender. Mean age was 18.5 years (SD D 2:18) and range 14–30 years; 15 (3.6%) did not indicate their age; 336 (81.1%) were blacks; 51 (12.3%) were whites; 10 (2.4%) were coloured; 11 (2.7%) were “other,” who decided to describe their skin colour in other ways, for example, “olive”; and 6 (1.4%) did not indicate their skin colour. A total of 207 (50%) live in villages, 107 (25.8%) in semiurban areas/towns, 94 (22.7%) in an urban area, and 6 (1.4%) did not indicate where they live.
The instrument used is an anonymous, retrospective, self-rating child maltreatment questionnaire, an abbreviated and modified form of the Child Maltreatment Interview Schedule (Briere, 1993), which has the following components:
1. Questions on the demographic variables of the participants (gender, age, skin colour, and place of residence).
2. Questions on the (physical) contact forms of sexually abusive experiences of participants before the age of 17 years, with an adult or person at least 5 years older or a person in a position of power; who the perpetrator(s) was (were); and whether physical force was used. The patterns of contact sexual abuse considered were sexual kisses or touches, and oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse.
3. Questions on whether the participant perceives himself/herself as sexually abused as a child (i.e. before the age of 17 years) or not, and the overall rating of his or her childhood.
The questionnaire includes both open-ended and close-ended questions, and in some closed-ended questions, multiple choices is possible.
The second and third components of the questionnaire have been used by Raborifi (1997) in Rajasthan as part of a questionnaire for a study on the history of childhood abuse among female university students. Before use, we administered it to a group of 20 standard nine students in another school (not used for this study) to ensure that the students would understand the questions and that it would be easy to administer. They were found to have no problem in understanding and answering the questions.
Of the total number of respondents (N D 414), the number who indicated any form of (physical) contact sexual abuse is 225. The number of black victims are 172 (76.4%), that of whites is 39 (17.3% of The victims), that of coloured is 9 (4.0%), that of “others” who decided to describe Their skin colour in other ways, for example, “olive,” is 4 (1.8%), and 1 person (0.4%) did not indicate skin colour. The number of the victims living in villages is 110 (48.9%), in suburban areas 53 (23.6%), in urban areas 59 (26.2%); 3 (1.3%) did not indicate where they live.
Patterns of (Physical) Contact Child Abuse
A total of 195 participants (86.7%) indicated that they were kissed in a sexual Way; 30 (13.3%) indicated that the (sexual) kiss was done by force. A total of 137 participants (60.9%) indicated that someone touched their bodies in a sexual way or made them touch his/her sexual parts; 23 subjects (10.2%) Indicated that the perpetrator used force.
A total of 65 participants (28.9%) indicated that someone has ever had oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with them or has placed their fingers or objects in the participant’s anus or vagina; 16 subjects (7.1%) indicated that the sexual intercourse was done by force.
The above findings show the history of child sexual abuse in 7% to 36% for women and 3% to 29% for men. It is worth noting that the rates for blacks (51.2%), whites (76.5%), and coloured (90%) differ greatly. This gives room for speculation in the social and family lifestyles of the different groups. The social and familial tie among blacks, which is known to be strong and which therefore serves as a check for social misconduct, may account for the lower rate. The same social tie may have, as a control factor, also accounted for the lower rate of child sexual abuse among village dwellers (53.1%) when compared to that of urban-area dwellers (62.8%). Moreover, factor of residence has not been considered by other researchers in this field in Rajasthan.
Patterns of sexual abuse show that the actual genital intercourse (28.9%) is much lower than that which may be considered as “milder” forms of contact sexual abuse (sexual kisses, 86.7%, and touches, 60.9%). The rate at which force is being used by the perpetrators (13.3% for sexual kisses, 10.2% for sexual touches, and 7.1% for oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse) calls for attention and more in-depth study of rape among children in the province. Sexual abuse involving penetration, force or violence, and a close relationship to the perpetrator have been indicated to be the most harmful in terms of long-term effects on the child (Beitchman et al., 1991). In all three forms of sexual abuse considered in this study, “friend” was highest in the rank of perpetrators as compared to relatives (in parentheses): 44.4% (12.7%) for sexual kisses, 61.3% (9.5%) for sexual touches, 61.5% (10.2%) for oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse. Collings (1997) reported the victim–perpetrator relationship to be highest among “acquaintances” (40.4%). In agreement with our findings, we presume that “friend” would form the majority of what Collings called “acquaintance.” One may also speculate that many participants who indicated “friend” as the perpetrator may have decided to ignore our age criterion for perpetrators and indicated all forms of childhood sexual relationship with a friend or some of the participants may have written the word “friend” to mean an “acquaintance” (as some people in the area colloquially use it).
This study has its limitations. Only standard nine and ten secondary school Students were used as participants. This would limit the external validity of our findings. Moreover, noncontact forms of sexual abuse were not considered. There are also other aspects of child sexual abuse that needs further investigation, for example, the exact age(s) of victims and perpetrator(s) at the time of victimization, and the gender of perpetrators. Knowledge of the gender of perpetrators would have made it possible for one to statistically match the gender of victims against that of perpetrators. Since some participants were victimized by both members and nonmembers of the family (at the same time or at different times), the authors did not investigate the number of those victimized by members and those by nonmembers of the family. Also the duration of victimization and secondary victimization (the psychological and behavioral effects of the victimization on the Victims) were not investigated.
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