Sunday, 21 April 2013

Make a difference with ONE signature, ONE minute of your time

These are dark times. Sometimes I feel it's a living nightmare. Why are we allowing our children to be treated like this? Why our people in the police force getting less and less sensitive to brutality? The petition below asks the government for ACTION. I am asking YOU to act. Each of us needs to act. Read the petition. If you agree, sign it, if you don't, do not sign it. But if you agree and think it's futile, sign it still. I believe positive energy never goes to waste. I believe each drop in the ocean is equally important for the ocean to be. Let's do our share people!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Thoughts on Sex Education - I

What is the right age for a child to get its first sex education? Are we, the parents (or soon would-be), aware enough of this?

From what I see around in young Indians, NO. People are hesitant and confused. Our generation has taken a leap forward in fighting the silence on sex, and yet we find ourselves at a helpless loss of words when the 5-year-old asks one fine afternoon, "Mama, where does a baby come from?"

I have thought and spoken a lot about this over the past two years, and being in Germany helped open a new horizon altogether. My view is: start at 3, not with "the big talk", but small age-appropriate little bundles of information. Parents are absolutely pivotal in shaping the child's view on sex and sexuality. From an early age, the child will adapt to the comfort level of the family on these topics. If a natural, unaffected vibe floats in the family about sex, that's the message the child will get : sex isn't a big deal. I say, we have to learn how to make that happen, as very few of us were born into families already inculcated with such an outlook.

Back to the 3-year old: talk to the child about its body, give the child the words for its body parts. Use simple diagrams of a male and a female nude body for this purpose. The child will follow with simple natural questions. Basically the idea is to convey that, "Your body is a very natural thing! You can talk about it openly with us." I am very happy about the "Personal Safety Education" of the NGOs Arpan and Tulir which incorporates such basic sex education. I will post in details about that later. However, we need to keep in mind that, apart from keeping the child safe, the aim of a healthy sex ed is to give a child a healthy and natural outlook on this topic. We want the child to understand, love and enjoy its body. The private areas are just supposed to be kept covered, but they are nothing to be ashamed of! Here the topic of how a child looks at nudity comes in. Let me take up that later again.

Until then, I would like to hear your views...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Vatican reports on Irish child abuse scandals

The Vatican has expressed its "dismay and betrayal" at the "sinful and criminal acts" by Catholic clergy guilty of child abuse across Ireland.

In a report published on Tuesday, it called for a "new focus on the laity" within the Irish Catholic Church.

The scandals had "opened many wounds", it said, and lay people had "lost trust in their pastors".
The report acknowledged "innocent young people" were abused by clerics to whose care they had been entrusted. 

It said that "those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively".


The report also said that good priests felt "unjustly tainted" and not defended by superiors.

"Bishops and superiors have often felt isolated as they sought to confront the wave of indignation and, at times, they have found it difficult to agree on a common line of action," the report said.

It recommended continued support for the victims and survivors of Catholic clerical abuse in Ireland.
The report also sought to bring the Irish Church back into line with the teachings of Rome.

"The Visitators also encountered a certain tendency, not dominant but nevertheless fairly widespread among priests, religious and laity, to hold theological opinions at variance with the teachings of the Magisterium, this serious situation requires particular attention," said the report.

Finally, it also called on the Irish Catholic community to "makes its voice heard" in the media.
It said that the community should establish "a proper relationship" with journalists with the aim of "making known the truth of the Gospel and the Church's life".

Speaking after the publication of the report, Primate of Ireland Sean Brady said it was a "helpful snapshot of a key moment on the ongoing journey of renewal".

He said Irish bishops wished to associate themselves with "the sense of pain and shame" expressed in the findings.

"Innocent young people were abused by clerics and religious to whose care they had been entrusted, while those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively," he said.

Cardinal Brady called for a united Church.

Closed doors

He particularly welcomed the Vatican's call for "a new focus on the laity" and the need for a "proper relationship" with the Irish media.

Commenting on the report, Michael Kelly from the newspaper, the Irish Catholic, said: "There is a focus on the victims, a renewal of apologies and an acceptance of the great damage that has been done".

Mr Kelly said the report carried "a very clear warning that says authentic renewal cannot be brought about by dissent from Church teaching."

"There was a feeling that the spirit of the sixties had infected the seminaries too much," he said, adding that there was a sense of the current Pope looking forward to a Church where there might be "fewer but truer" Catholics.

Colm O'Gorman, a high profile campaigner who sued the Catholic Church over the abuse he suffered as a child, called the report "farcical".

He said the Church had to "be dragged kicking and screaming through the courts of opinion and the courts of law".

"The suggestion that they are going to address this by dealing with the whole issue of contamination of seminarians is backward looking and disingenuous," he said.

Margaret McGuckin from Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse, (Savia), was abused as a child at Nazareth House in Belfast.

She and other members of her group met Cardinal Brady earlier this month to seek his cooperation in a forthcoming inquiry, ordered by the NI Executive, into allegations of clerical abuse in Northern Ireland.

"We, in the north, have been ignored," she said.

"They have set up a counselling service but many of our people ignore this. They find it hard to trust."
The clerical abuse survivors' group, One in Four, said the Vatican was "still not accepting responsibility for its role in creating the culture of purposeful cover-ups of the sexual abuse of children." 

Executive Director Maeve Lewis said: "While we welcome the findings of the Visitation that the Irish Church now has good child protection practices in place, we feel it is a lost opportunity to address the role played by the Vatican in perpetuating the policy of protecting abusive priests at the expense of children."

"We also welcome the recommendation that the bishops and religious superiors should devote much time to listening to survivors and attending to their needs." 

Ms Brennan claimed the group had noticed "a hardening of attitude on the part of the Church authorities to the question of compensation for survivors". 

"This only compounds the pain and hurt of survivors. It brings into question the authenticity of the Church's repentance," she said.

Seven teams

The report is a summary of what seven teams of Vatican-appointed church leaders observed when they visited four Archdioceses across Ireland over the last two years. 

It looked at the Church' s dealings with survivors of abuse and current child protection policies.

Some of the teams met victims and concerned Catholics in advertised locations, as well as individual survivors behind closed doors.

The report was promised two years ago by Pope Benedict XVI in his letter to Catholics in Ireland.

The Pope expressed horror in the wake of the Ryan and Murphy reports, which revealed a 70-year history of child abuse by a significant number of priests, brothers and nuns and cover-ups by their religious superiors.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A Utah judge has ordered a registered sex offender who faces nearly two dozen charges of child sex abuse released on the basis that he is mentally incompetent to stand trial.

At a hearing on Thursday, Fourth District Judge James Taylor, who previously ruled Lonnie Johnson incompetent to be tried on sex crime charges, said there were no legal grounds for holding him.

"We are at the end of the road...I can't do anything but have him released from the state hospital," Taylor said at Thursday's hearing.

Taylor said he was following a Utah statute requiring the release of anyone deemed incompetent to stand trial and who has not been convicted of a crime.

Johnson, 38, has been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder. Doctors who examined Johnson found his competency could not be restored. They also said he is not a danger to society and did not qualify for involuntary institutional commitment.

Johnson faces five counts of rape of a child, six counts of sodomy on a child and 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, according to court documents.

In 2006, he was convicted of raping a teenage girl in Washington State, sent to prison for third-degree rape and served less than a year, according to court documents. He is required to register as a sex offender wherever he lives.

"I am outraged that a convicted child sex offender, currently facing another round of accusations, could be released without being tried for current charges," Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert said.

"It's outrageous for both the victims and the accused that Mr. Johnson won't get his day in court," he said.

In November, a status hearing will be held under the judge's orders, and he will appoint two new doctors to evaluate Johnson.

Prosecutors have also filed a new motion asking the judge to reopen competency hearings in the criminal case.

"What I wanted to do was jump over and take care of it myself,'' said Christy Danner, whose daughter is an alleged victim of Johnson.

''But that's not what we can do and that's not the way our system works, and we're going to have to fix this system and then hopefully get him back in the state of Utah and find him competent,'' Danner said on HLN's "Nancy Grace."

Danner cited Johnson's previous ability to hold down jobs and earn a living, and said she thinks Johnson is faking incompetence.

Johnson allegedly abused Danner's daughter, who was his niece by marriage, for six years, starting at age eight in 1997. She is now 21.

Johnson's family has maintained his innocence, alleging the accusations are related to a bitter divorce case.

"We kind of knew going in today that he was going to be released so we were able to at least anticipate that," Danner said.

"But, yeah, we're not happy and the girls are feeling victimized again and our only thing is that we have to close this loophole."

Study: Most Child Abuse Goes Unreported

Children in highly developed countries suffer abuse and neglect much more often than is reported by official child-protective agencies, according to the findings of the first in a comprehensive series of reports on child maltreatment, published Dec. 2 in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Based on a review of research conducted on child abuse between 2000 and June of this year, researchers estimate that 4% to 16% of children are physically abused each year in high-income nations, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. As many as 15% are neglected, and up to 10% of girls and 5% of boys suffer severe sexual abuse; many more are victims of other sexual injury. Yet researchers say that as few as 1 in 10 of those instances of abuse are actually confirmed by social-service agencies — and that measuring the exact scope of the problem is nearly impossible. (See the Year in Health, from A to Z.)

The issue lies in the delicate nature of the crimes — and the consequences of intervention. Many cases of abuse are rife with potential for long-term harm of the child, whether or not the assault is reported. The decision to report is rarely clear-cut, says Theresa Costello, director of the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services, who was not involved with the new research. "Professionals want to advocate for their clients, but they also know the reality of the public child-welfare system," she says. "There is a natural professional dilemma when you see a kid and you think, 'I should make a report,' but you're not sure you want to subject that child to the system."

Indeed, the second study in the Lancet analysis, citing previous research, reveals that physicians reported only 6% of children's injury cases to protective services, even though they suspected the injury was a result of abuse 10% of the time. Further, researchers say that many more cases of maltreatment — particularly of sexual abuse — are never even suspected, and the victimized children never come forward to report the assaults.

"The official statistics agencies produce are conservative estimates of probably the lowest level of child maltreatment," says Dr. Cathy Spatz Widom, a psychology professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who specializes in the long-term effects of child abuse and is a lead author on one of the Lancet studies.

Those numbers, researchers say, may now be on the rise. Historically, economic hardship has often corresponded with increases in child abuse, says Dr. Carole Jenny, a professor of pediatrics at Brown University and an expert in identifying and treating victims of child abuse, who authored a commentary in The Lancet. In the past six months, Jenny says she has seen increases in rates of maltreatment and heard similar reports from her colleagues. "I imagine that as the economy worsens, [child-abuse specialists are] only going to be more and more busy," she says, adding that the recession will likely mean less funding for already strained social services. "As the pressures on families are increasing markedly, the amount of help available goes down," she says.

The new research underscores the fact that the most common type of child abuse in developed countries — simple neglect — is often the least publicized. The Lancet analysis finds that neglect is the No. 1 category of maltreatment reported by child-protective services. "We have paid much more attention to physical and sexual abuse. We have called people's attention to it. Even though neglect is the largest portion of cases, it's under everybody's radar," Widom says. "And yet we know that neglected children are at as high a risk as physically abused kids for becoming violent offenders, for example, or having low reading ability." (See pictures of a diverse group of American teens.)

Widom points to years of past research linking early childhood abuse to an increased possibility of long-term behavioral and psychological problems, ranging from low educational achievement to criminal behavior, risky sexual practices and even increased chance of obesity. "Child maltreatment has long-lasting effects across multiple domains of functioning. It's not just in childhood. It lasts into adulthood, and we are not really thinking about these long-term consequences, and we're not planning for them," she says.

Yet there is no completely objective test for the presence of abuse. Identifying victimized children is often a subjective process, and caregivers may be wary of levying false accusations. Self-reports of abuse are frequently flawed and inaccurate as well, says Widom; they often produce the largest estimates of abuse incidence, but their definitions of maltreatment are overly broad. Even when children of abuse are correctly identified, not all caregivers know how to ensure their proper treatment. "There's no gold standard," Widom says.

There is an effort afoot to rectify that problem. Brown University's Jenny is one of roughly 250 pediatricians across the U.S. whose specialty is the identification and prevention of child abuse, and the field is gaining momentum — and standardization. By 2012, a three-year postresidency fellowship will be required of all new pediatricians who wish to specialize in child abuse. And the National Association of Children's Hospitals has advocated requiring all children's medical institutions to have a child-abuse specialist on staff.

The ultimate goal is to prevent abuse in the first place, says Widom, and to protect the well-being of children who have been victimized. "It would be wrong to assume that all maltreated children are going to turn out to have all of these problems," she says.

Cloistered Shame in Israel By TIM McGIRK/JERUSALEM

Among Israel's ultra-orthodox Jews, the Haredim, social workers are often called "child-snatchers" and the police "Cossacks," harking back to the 19th century pogroms against Jews in Russia. These cloistered communities, in which women are expected to raise and financially support their large families while their husbands spend their days stooped over the Torah, make up 10% of Israel's population and a third of Jerusalem's, and consider themselves defenders of a core morality in Jewish society. But that moral authority has come under scrutiny since evidence began to emerge in March of incest, rape and child abuse in four different ultra-orthodox enclaves around the country.

Over the last few weeks the Cossacks have arrived wearing the uniform of the Israeli national police force. In a series of raids following tip-offs from victims' relatives, neighbors and hospital workers, the police have arrested ultra-orthodox wives, husbands and yeshiva students.

Community elders were at first appalled. Now they are grateful for the intervention. "The Haredim are shocked by these cases," says Noach Korman, a Haredi attorney in the rabbinical court that adjudicates family and religious law, and the director of a shelter for battered wives. "At first they said, 'These people are crazy, they don't belong to us.' But now I hear Haredi voices saying: 'We should examine ourselves and not close our eyes to why these things are happening.' "Says Naomi Ragen, an orthodox woman who is an author and advocate for gender equality: "These shocking things had to come out. There was no more room left under the carpet."

Sex predators operate with ease among the ultra-orthodox communities because female victims often keep quiet, knowing that to speak out will damage their prospects of finding a husband. "The families all want their girls to have a AAA marriage to a religious scholar from a good family, and nobody's going to marry a girl who gets raped," says Ragen. In Bnei Brak, a predominately Haredi city near Tel Aviv, social worker Doron Agasi says one young Haredi man told him that he had molested more than a hundred girls. Agasi, director of the Shlom Banaich Fellowship, the only organization in Israel that treats pedophiles and their victims, convinced the young man to confess to the police. But, says Agasi, the authorities refused to bring charges because none of the parents of the alleged victims had filed complaints. Agasi says the rapist is now roaming free.

Convincing the Haredi to work with police and social workers has been a struggle, says Miki Miller, a social worker in the newly built Haredi town of Kiryat Sefer near Jerusalem. "The Haredi believe that a closed society is a pure society," she says. But a closed society can hide a multitude of sins. A senior police officer in Jerusalem acknowledges that the instincts of the Haredi community to cover up such crimes undermines the authorities' ability to investigate and prosecute offenders: "We're aware of this phenomenon of sex abuse among Haredis, but an extremely low number of these cases are ever reported."

The first port of call for Haredi families faced with violence or sex crimes is often their rabbi. But religious leaders themselves have not been immune from accusations of abuse. On April 6, a Jerusalem court indicted a Haredi mother of eight for child abuse in light of evidence that she broke her two toddlers' bones with hammers, forced the children to eat feces, and locked them inside a suitcase for hours. The alleged abuses came to light only after her three-year-old son was taken to hospital in a coma with brain damage. The woman claimed she was driving "devils" from her children following instructions from her religious counselor Elior Chen, who has since fled to Canada. Israeli police are seeking his extradition.

In Beit Shemesh, a town near Jerusalem, another case of abuse centered on a self-styled female "rabbi" who hid her face entirely behind a black veil. Her religious modesty attracted dozens of Haredi female disciples over several years, but her own sister was frantically seeking police intervention to stop the woman from thrashing her children with a rolling pin. Neighbors say she allegedly left her kids tied for hours to a garden tree. After her arrest, one of her children, now an adult, told police that his mother had encouraged incest among her offspring when they were younger.

The majority of ultra-orthodox families are orderly and loving, but for some mothers, the stress of raising an average of seven to eight children while holding down a job is too much to handle. Haredi men place a higher value on spiritual learning than on money or possessions; devout husbands, who wear black hats and long-tailed coats modeled on those of 18th century Polish noblemen, are expected only to study. And when they are abusive, their wives often cover up to preserve the family's honor. Says Ragen: "You hear the Haredi women say: 'I took the stain on me so that my husband could be as white as snow.' "

Social workers at Jerusalem's shelter for battered Haredi women say that family violence often erupts during the ritual Shabbat dinner, when all children are gathered — tempers flare over mundane arguments and the husband strikes his wife. A wife may endure such treatment for years. But the number of women who call a 24-hour hotline for battered Haredi women has jumped from 477 calls in 2004 to 1,402 last year. Social workers attribute the increase to a new generation of rabbis urging women to speak out against domestic violence.

Yet many Jewish feminists say that women are more repressed than ever inside Israel's Haredi community. Anat Zuria, a respected filmmaker who focuses on the Haredim, says that many Haredi now believe that, according to Biblical prophecy, Judgment Day is fast approaching. "The Haredi are becoming more Messianic, and they believe the Messiah will only come if there's purity and modesty among women," she says. To that end, boys and girls are segregated early on. "Everything about sexuality is unmentionable," says Zuria. "There's no Internet, no TV, no books, but you can't kill off the erotic impulse." Author Ragen concurs: "All of these taboos don't necessarily make them saints. Sometimes they become perverts."

That realization is sinking in with some socially conscious rabbis. In Febuary, Rabbi Meir Kessler from Kiryat Sefer called two late-night meetings in which 3,000 parents were urged to warn their children that even men in beards and hats are capable of evil. The rabbi's candid sermon has stirred debate among the shuttered Haredim. One stunned participant told reporters that "not since Moses" had a rabbi spoken publicly on such forbidden sexual topics. The spate of abuse cases prompted Israel's chief Ashkenazi rabbi, Yona Metzger, to call on his fellow religious leaders "to vomit these parents and rabbis out of the camp and do everything in our power to save the souls of these young children."

More openness is the only way to catch offenders and root out the culture that permits them to operate. Teachers in some Haredi primary schools and yeshivas are now taught how to recognize such telltale sights of abuse as sudden moodiness or aggression, injuries or indecent behavior towards other students. In early spring, a teacher in the southern town of Nativot caught one child sexually accosting another. Social workers investigated and found that the boy's mother said she had sex with her child as a way to "punish" her husband for having left her.

It's hard to find positives in such stories. Yet it is better that they come to light than that they remain the dark secret of the Haredi. In Bnei Brak, police say one rapist in ultra-orthodox garb is stalking preteen girls, cornering them in dark hallways or in parks. It took weeks before religious elders alerted the police to the sexual predator, who has yet to be caught. But authorities say it is a sign of changing times that the Haredi children, and their parents, did not endure these crimes in silence.

Is Child Abuse On the Decline? By Laura Blue

The number of maltreated children in the U.S. has fallen steadily in the last two decades, according to a report this week from the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Overall, physical-abuse cases per capita fell 3% between and 2007 and 2008 (the most recent year for which stats are available). Meanwhile sexual abuse fell by 6%, the report says. These figures continue long-term downward trends in the rate of physical and sexual abuse nationwide -- with most states reporting cumulative drops of over 50% since 1992 -- although neglect cases per capita seem to have remained fairly stable.

Sound too good to be true? All of that data comes from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, which began compiling the stats in 1990 from states' child-protection agencies. The numbers are based on "substantiated" abuse cases only -- where substantiated means that the cases were reported to a child-protection agency and investigated, and that the agency then found "a preponderance of evidence" to suggest maltreatment. But while it may sound as if the trend could be just a trick of the data then -- states could have simply decided to investigate fewer cases over time, for example -- the new report argues that the decline in abuse is very real. A separate study found similar declines in child abuse using different methods, according to the report: Researchers conducting the recent National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect talked to workers in schools, hospitals and day cares about abuse, without looking at state investigations at all. And victim self-reports show the same pattern too, with declines in the number of children reporting physical and sexual abuse throughout the 1990s and 2000s. It would appear, then, that the good news is genuine. There really is less child abuse than there used to be.

The report states:

There is currently no consensus in the child maltreatment field about why sexual abuse and physical abuse have declined so substantially, although a recent article and book suggest some possible factors (Finkelhor & Jones, 2006; Finkelhor, 2008). The period when sexual and physical abuse started the dramatic downward trend was marked by sustained economic improvement, increases in the numbers of law enforcement and child protection personnel, more aggressive prosecution and incarceration policies, growing public awareness about the problems, and the dissemination of new treatment options for family and mental health problems, including new psychiatric medication. While some have suggested community notification laws as a possible explanatory factor, the passage and implementation of these laws actually occurred well after the sexual abuse decline was underway.

Over the same 1990 - 2008 period, however, the number of neglect cases per capita has barely budged. The report suggests that this may be the case because neglect "has not been the subject of the same level of policy attention and public awareness as sexual and physical abuse."

Erin's Law: When the Abuser Is No Stranger Read more:,8599,2022124,00.html#ixzz1cwAyfHYM

Throughout her school years, Erin Merryn of Schaumburg, Ill., received plenty of lessons in the dangers her elders thought she could encounter during her childhood. She was taught how to ride out a tornado, instructed in the eight steps for turning down illegal drugs, and told how to react to a friendly stranger who might try to abduct her. But nothing prepared her for two traumatizing events that have turned Merryn, now 25, into an activist, determined to prevent the same thing from happening to other children.

The first episode began on a warm May night in 1991. Merryn, then 6, was excited about her first sleepover with her kindergarten classmate Ashley. After an evening of playing with Ashley's dollhouse and watching The Little Mermaid, the girls went to bed in Ashley's room. Merryn lay on blankets on the floor next to Ashley, who was in her bed. In the wee hours of the night, Ashley's uncle "Richard" (not his real name), who lived in the house with his niece, appeared in the darkened room. He sat down in front of Merryn and put his finger to his lips signaling her to remain quiet. Seconds later his hand was down her pants. Merryn was as bewildered as she was frightened. "I didn't understand what was going on," she says. "I just stared at the ceiling waiting for it to end." Her friend slept through the assault, and Merryn remained silent. (Read why most child abuse goes unreported)

Merryn kept her confusion to herself. She didn't want to stop visiting her friend but tried to find times when Richard wasn't around. She wasn't always successful. The man, then in his late 20s, abused her several more times in the next year, including, she says, raping her during a daytime visit when she thought he wouldn't be home.

When Merryn eventually confided in Ashley about what had happened, her friend was not surprised; in fact, the scene was depressingly familiar to her. But Ashley begged her not to say anything because Richard had told her they would "lose the house" if the girls told anyone. Says Merryn: "[Ashley] made me pinky promise not to say anything."

Merryn's family, including her two sisters, moved to another neighborhood in the same town when Merryn was 8, and she stopped seeing Ashley. But at age 11, Merryn's second nightmare began. At a family gathering at her grandparents' lake house, she awoke in the middle of the night to find her cousin "Brian" (again, not his real name), then 13, lying next to her with his hands down her underwear. He continued to abuse her on and off for nearly two years, she says, often at holidays and celebrations with her close-knit extended family. He cornered her in basements, bathrooms and bedrooms, always reminding her that she shouldn't bother telling anyone because no one would believe her. It ended only after a chance conversation between Merryn and one of her sisters, who blurted out one day that their cousin Brian was "gross." Merryn realized he had been molesting her sister too. They talked for hours about what had happened, and the next day told their parents about their shared horror.

The family pressed charges against Brian, who ultimately admitted to three counts of sexual abuse. The case never went to trial, and Brian received some counseling, but no punishment. The two families have ceased having contact.

Merryn's experiences belie the more common parental fears of "stranger danger." Young children tend to hear a lot of messages about avoiding interactions with people they don't know, when in reality they are far more likely to face harm from a relative or family friend. Victims of abuse know their perpetrators 80% to 90% of the time, says David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

For a long time, Merryn didn't know what to do with her anger and fear as an abused child. She spent one afternoon at a park breaking discarded bottles. She didn't tell any adults what had happened to her. "I didn't realize that what had happened wasn't my fault. I didn't know the difference between a safe and an unsafe secret," Merryn says. Later, she helped herself heal by writing two books about her experiences (Stolen Innocence and Living for Today).

Now she is moving into political action. Earlier this year, Merryn reached out to Illinois legislators about the need for schools to adopt age-appropriate curriculum on child sexual abuse. Republican state senator Tim Bivins championed what became known as "Erin's Law," which passed the state senate unanimously. The legislation, which is expected to be taken up by the House in November, would create a task force to devise strategies for reducing child sexual abuse throughout the state and permit school boards to implement similar measures. The aim is to bring into the classroom (for students from pre-K through fifth grade) what is seldom discussed openly: that even trusted family members and friends can pose a threat to their well-being. Teachers would also be trained to recognize warning signs that their students have been sexually abused, including mood swings or acting distant at odd times, and be able to tell students where to go for assistance if they have been victimized.

A poised and charismatic speaker, Merryn has traveled the country making speeches to law-enforcement and abuse-prevention groups. And she will soon tell her story on Oprah, which she hopes will give her effort the jolt it needs to become a nationwide movement.

Erin's Law would not be the first statewide effort to tackle this issue. Ohio and New Jersey have statewide mandates to implement abuse-prevention programs in their schools, according to Finkelhor, and Texas passed a similar prevention measure in 2009. The problem, Finkelhor says, is getting schools to focus on the issue at a time when resources are limited and their priorities are on beefing up academic programs — which has put ancillary efforts such as anti-bullying and mental-health issues on the back burner. "I don't think schools would be resistant to the idea that this prevention is needed," he says. "But there are so many other demands on them these days." Nor are they likely to have the resources to provide the kind of intensive curriculum that is necessary. A guest speaker for 45 minutes wouldn't be very helpful, says Finkelhor: "The best programs are very intensive and expensive."(Read about a child abuse case in Vietnam.)

The attention on sexual abuse of children in recent years, along with increases in the numbers of law-enforcement and child-protection personnel, has made an impact. According to Finkelhor, national child maltreatment data show that the rate of sex abuse against children under 18 declined 58% between 1992 and 2008, when the number of substantiated cases was reported to be a still disturbing 68,500. As Finkelhor notes, "It's still a major source of trauma and long-term dysfunction in children."

Merryn, who got a master's degree in social work, focusing on sexual-abuse prevention, is determined to keep up her campaign to make her cause a national movement. "I don't want parents to think they need to put a bubble around their kids 24/7," she says. "We need to give kids the knowledge and tools they need to come forward when something happens. I had my innocence taken. I don't want it to happen to anyone else."

Read more:,8599,2022124,00.html#ixzz1cwEcffva

Thursday, 17 March 2011

'World's largest paedophile ring' uncovered


16 March 2011 Last updated at 15:27 GMT

International police led by a UK team say they shut down the largest internet paedophile ring yet discovered. 

The global forum had 70,000 followers at its height, leading to 4,000 intelligence reports being sent to police across 30 countries.

The operation has so far identified 670 suspects and 230 abused children.

Detectives say 184 people have been arrested - 121 of them were in the UK. Some 60 children have been protected in the UK.

The three-year investigation, Operation Rescue, was led by investigators from the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

Speaking at a news conference at The Hague in the Netherlands, investigators said the network hid behind a legal online forum which operated out of the country - but its members came from around the world.

The international network operated out of the Netherlands

Along with the Netherlands and the UK, suspects have been identified in Australia, Italy, Canada, New Zealand and Thailand.

The members of the network went into a private channel,, and then used its secret systems to share films and images of abused children, said Rob Wainwright, director of European police agency Europol.

However, child abuse investigators, including a team from Ceop, had already infiltrated the network and were posing as paedophiles to gather intelligence.
In the UK, the 240 suspects include police officers, teachers and a karate teacher. One of the suspects in the UK is a woman.

To date, 33 have been convicted, including John McMurdo, a scout leader from Plymouth. Another forum user was Stephen Palmer, 54, of Birkenhead, who shared abuse images with contacts in the US. A third man, 46-year-old Colin Hoey Brown of Bromsgrove, was jailed for making and distributing almost 1,000 images.

'New ground broken'

Peter Davies, head of Ceop, said: "The scale and success of Operation Rescue has broken new ground.

"Not only is it one of the largest operations of its kind to date - and the biggest operation we have led - it also demonstrates the impact of international law enforcement agencies working together with one single objective, to safeguard children and bring offenders to justice. 

"While these offenders felt anonymous in some way because they were using the internet to communicate, the technology was actually being used against them.
"Everything they did online, everyone they talked to or anything they shared could and was tracked by following the digital footprint."

Operation Rescue began when Ceop and colleagues in the Australian Federal Police separately identified the site as a key online meeting place for abusers.

The two forces deployed officers to infiltrate the site and to identify the members who were posing the most risk to children.

One of the early breakthroughs in the investigation was the arrest of four suspects in Thailand in 2008. Two of the men were British.

In March of the same year, Ceop identified the owner of the site and the location of its server in the Netherlands. The owner of the server is now co-operating with Dutch police.

Rob Wainwright of Europol said the man running the server had used "advanced security techniques" which took months to break down.

"If you think you can use the internet to abuse children you are wrong," he said.
"We will not allow these offenders to carry on committing these awful crimes against young children. We will not rest until we have identified every offender that has been active in this network and others that might be operating on the internet."


The internet has proved to be fertile territory for people with a sexual interest in children.

Those wishing to explore their feelings or satisfy their urges can spend hours doing so without having to leave their room. Taking advantage of the anonymity modern computer technology provides, paedophiles download and exchange vile images of abuse unaware of the reality of the suffering.

For some years, however, child protection agencies have been on their case. By pretending to be online sex offenders and by using sophisticated computer techniques, they've managed to identify offenders and locate suspect websites. So it was with Operation Rescue.

What marks it out is its global scale. But in UK terms, it still lags behind Operation Ore - an investigation into 7,000 people from Britain whose credit cards were used to access child abuse images on a US website.

[Source: ]

Monday, 29 November 2010

Toddlers taught about good touch, bad touch

Santacruz school uses slideshow to protect kindergarten students from paedophiles

Deepti Khera
Mumbai Mirror

Posted On Monday, November 29, 2010 at 02:02:17 AM

With the recent allegation that a EuroKids teacher molested a toddler, Podar Education Network has decided to educate children as young as three to five years of age on how to distinguish a good touch from a bad touch.

Images shown to students from Podar Jumbo kids; Red tells kids about private parts
The Santacruz school recently showed a CD with a powerpoint presentation – of an animated elephant helping children identify an uncomfortable overture from an adult- to its Kindergarten students. The CD was also shared with parents of toddlers and bus attendants, who interact with children daily. The presentation tells children about the parts of their body and teaches them which ones they should not allow others to touch.

Red is used to alert them about private parts. The presentation also talks about who can touch them - parents, grandparents, doctors - and who they should be wary of - in this case lift attendants, drivers. The CD is interactive and seeks feedback from its young viewers so they learn to identify what makes them uncomfortable.

For instance, a child who likes being tickled gives it a thumbs up and a child who doesn’t gives it a thumbs down. It helps them recognise if they like a certain gesture or not and express their discomfort.

Swati Popat Vats, president of Podar Education Network, said the school plans to take this presentation to other institutions as well. “We have written a letter to principals of several schools and are hoping they show this path-breaking CD to young children.”

Sonia Gada, a parent said, “It is difficult for me to articulate what I know about this to my child. The graphics and the cartoon have taught my child what I couldn’t teach.”

Harish Iyer, activist and survivor of child sex abuse, said, “Had I known these things when I was six, I would not have been sexually abused. We should not be squeamish in letting children know the names of their body parts so they have the vocabulary to express themselves.”

Samir Dalwai, who is associated with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said, “It is extremely important to discuss the issue of child sex abuse with children. The CD educates children in an appealing, friendly and a non-threatening manner.”

  Child abuse on the rise 

A study on child sexual abuse conducted in 13 states by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007 shows that out of the 12,447 children interviewed, more than 53 per cent had faced one or more forms of sexual abuse. The figures were published in a report titled, Child Abuse : India 2007

•   More than 53 per cent children interviewed during the study faced one or more forms of sexual abuse
•   Almost 22 per cent faced severe sexual abuse, 6 per cent sexually assaulted
•   50 per cent sexual offenders were known to the victim or were in positions of trust (family member, close relative, friend or neighbour).
•   Children in the 5-12 year's group faced higher levels of abuse that were largely unreported.
•   Boys were equally at risk as girls.
•   73 per cent of the victims were in age groups of 11 to 18 years

Slideshow says...

•   Whatever a child is comfortable with is called a safe touch

•   What a child is uncomfortable with is called unsafe or bad touch

•   It is not okay for anyone to touch your private parts

•   If you are abused, it is not your fault, tell your parents about it

Childline: 1098


[ Source: Click here ]
[Link to the Report of the National Survey "Child Abuse : India 2007" : Click here]

Saturday, 2 October 2010

How Can I ‘Be Myself’ If I Don’t Know Who That Is?

Sep 30th, 2010 | By Christina Enevoldsen | Category: All Posts, Christina's Blog
“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action.  I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” Michelangelo

It’s completely fascinating to me to consider how Michelangelo created.  The sculptor imagined the finished work before he lifted the chisel to the stone.  He didn’t see the marble block; he saw the image underneath. He recognized what it was, and then simply removed what it was not.

I’m no Michelangelo, but I am creating a masterpiece—or rather, revealing one.  My childhood sexual abuse encased me in a false identity and covered me in a shroud of lies. My false self wasn’t stone, but it imprisoned me just the same. My healing process is the chiseling away at the falsehoods to free my true self.

The trouble is that I’ve never had the clarity of Michelangelo.  The only Christina I’ve ever known was the one who adapted to the abuse.  The lies entrapped me for so long that I felt I didn’t exist apart from them.  How could I have a vision for someone I’ve never seen?  That was my question when I began my healing. I didn’t know the answer but I was determined to rescue my true image just as the great artist rescued his beauties from the stone. 

The lies were layered. First, the abuse told me lies about myself and then I told other lies about myself to cover up the first lies.  The lies from the abuse told me I was only good for sex, that I was somehow flawed as a person, too dirty and used for someone to love me.  I wasn’t aware that it was the abuse that told me that.  I thought I was abused because those things were already true.  I thought I was inherently worthless so I deserved to be passed around. 

I reacted to those lies by trying to ‘prove’ they weren’t true.  I knew they were—they were true to me—but I was hoping people would be fooled by my facade. One of my false selves was the “hard worker”.  I projected an image of responsibility, maturity, and dependability.  It was my uniform that informed people that they needed to keep me around because I was useful. The more shame I felt and the more I thought my masks were ‘slipping’, the more I asserted them. They became hardened around me.  I didn’t know where they stopped and I began. 

As I recognized that I was misinformed about my value, I shed the lies.  The truth is that I am valuable because I exist.  My value isn’t affected by what happened to me.  I didn’t do those things; they were done to me and it was not a reflection on me.  It wasn’t because I was bad.  It was because my abusers were bad.  I don’t have anything to conceal anymore because I’m wonderfully made. 

I thought I needed to perceive who I was supposed to be before I could make myself into that image.  The truth is that I don’t need to see or ‘make’ myself into anything.  I am who I am.  I was so used to contorting myself into certain roles that I thought I would ‘achieve’ the real me the same way.  All I’ve really needed to do is remove the lies.  Then the truth is revealed. 

The real me is emerging.  I’m learning more about myself every day and the sense of wonder and excitement and expectation fill me.  The real me is coming out without even really thinking about it.  It’s natural and unrehearsed.  It’s effortless.  As I heal and the masks fall off, the genuine Christina is revealed.  She’s been there all along.

It’s ironic that I thought I’d prove my value by covering myself up, yet a work of art can only be appreciated when it can be seen.  The healing process is referred to as recovery, but I’ve been covered up long enough and I don’t want to be re-covered.  Maybe it’s more accurate to call this my uncovery—the grand unveiling of this masterpiece.  BEAUTIFUL!


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Watch '30 Days in September' and support Arpan


Arpan presents '30 Days in September'
(A Primetime Theatre Company Production)
Scripted by: Mahesh Dattani & Directed by: Lillete Dubey

Date: 2nd october, 2010. Time: 7:30 - 9:30 pm.

Please see details below.

We hope you will support Arpan by removing some time on 2nd October to come and watch the play. Please block this date and time in your calendar!

You could also buy bulk passes and have your colleagues from companies, organisations, schools come in to watch the play. Help spread awareness on child sexual abuse and support Arpan!

We look forward to seeing you! Please do forward this to your contacts in Bombay and help spread the word around.

Thank you!

Warm wishes,
Pooja Taparia

Monday, 19 July 2010

Tulir workshops - Focus on Prevention


Greetings from Tulir - Centre For The Prevention & Healing of Child Sexual Abuse, is a registered non profit Trust, based in Chennai, committed to working against child sexual abuse (CSA) in India. Tulir's vision is the right of every child to be safe all the time from sexual abuse. Our programming is grounded in a zealous belief of awareness, prevention, and community and professional response sector involvement.

With prevention increasingly gaining recognition as the most prudent and cost effective strategy for addressing child sexual abuse, we are pleased to invite you for a Workshop Series focusing on prevention. It will be led by our Visiting Expert in Residence, Prof. Carol Plummer, who besides working on many aspects of child sexual abuse over the past 30 years, has also authored Preventing Sexual Abuse, a prevention curriculum. More information about Dr Plummer is available at
The series ( details pasted below), are spread over 5 days between Aug. 2 - Aug 6, at Chennai and will cost Rs. 2000/- per person and will be in English. For students pursuing a formal course of education, discounts are available. Vegetarian lunch, tea and workshop materials will be provided. Registration is limited to the first 50 persons against advance payment and will close by July 30, 2010. It is mandatory that participants attend the entire series to benefit optimally.

Please contact or call 26192026 (10 am - 6 pm, Monday – Friday) for further details. We will be glad to clarify any further related queries.



Day 1: The Essentials of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: What it is, why it is necessary, and how you can help
Learn about comprehensive approaches to sexual abuse prevention
Understand the importance of prevention efforts
Determine concrete ways in which you can become more engaged with keeping children safe

Day 2: Building a Prevention Program within your Agency or Organization
Learn the steps in expanding your work to include prevention efforts
Essential ingredients for program success
Policy efforts, evidence-based practice, and evaluation of programs

Day 3: School Based Prevention Education on Child Sexual Abuse
Ways to involve schools in child sexual abuse prevention
Barriers to successful school-based programs
Overcoming challenges in your school

Day 4: Working with High Risk Groups, including children with disabilities
What groups of children are at particularly high risk for being abused?
Involving adults, including bystanders, in intervening on behalf of children
Challenges and successes in working with children with disabilities

Day 5: Addressing Trauma in Children
Assessing for traumatic reactions
Crisis intervention versus longer term interventions
Working with multiple traumas in a child/community
Best practices for work with traumatized children

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Child sex abuse bill in monsoon session

Special Courts Likely To Try Offenders



Chennai: The government is planning to table and pass in the next session of parliament a law to prevent sexual assault of children, Union law minister Veerappa Moily said on Sunday.

On June 30, TOI ran a story about the government planning an exclusive law to protect children from sexual assault and also that a special court will be set up to try such cases.

The Protection of Children From Sexual Assault Bill, 2010, seeks to protect children against offences of sexual assault and harassment more effectively than is possible under the provisions of Indian Penal Code. It will also eliminate ambiguity in defining crimes, make special courts with special powers mandatory for speedy trial, and overrule the need to obtain permission to penalise personnel of armed forces. The special courts will be appointed by the state governments and will have jurisdiction to try cases relating to child pornography.

“We have prepared the second working draft and will table and pass it in the next session of parliament as a separate law is inevitable. The government also hopes that all parties will extend their support in passing the bill,’’ he said. He was taking part in a discussion here on “Law reform and legislation on sexual offences against children’.

He also handed over the second draft of the bill and requested the participants to discuss and suggest changes and additions as early as possible because “we feel that there should be transparency in formulating the law’’.

In 4 years, no case will last over 3 years: Moily

Chennai: Steps are being taken to tone up the justice delivery system so that no litigation lasts beyond three years. And it will take four years for the measures to take effect. Talking to reporters after a meeting chief justices, law ministers and officials from the four southern states here, Union law minister M Veerappa Moily said the hefty grant of Rs 5,000 crore to upgrade infrastructure in the judiciary and steps like advancing the process of filling up posts even before they fall vacant and increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution forums would have the effect of reducing backlog of cases and bringing down litigation time. “In about four years, any litigation, of whatever kind, will not be prolonged beyond three years,’’ the law minister said. TNN

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Zindagi Live episode on Child Sexual Abuse


Zindagi Live, IBN7 tells the story of four survivors of CSA, what happened to them, how they fought through it, how the abuse has affected their lives, and how can sexual abuse of children be prevented or dealt with.

Watch this epsiode at this link:

There are 8 clips. Please watch in sequence.


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Six out of every 554 street children in Kolkata are HIV+, says NICED

Tue, Mar 23 05:25 PM

Kolkata, March 23 (ANI): A study conducted by the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) has found at least six out of every 554 street children in the age group of five to fourteen in Kolkata are HIV positive, while 22 suffer from syphilis.

Kolkata has an estimated number of over 11,000 street children.

Sexual abuse was identified as the main cause for these children suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. Nine per cent of the children interviewed during the study reported some form or other of sexual abuse. The children didn't even know that they had these diseases.

According to Dr Kamalesh Sarkar, Deputy Director, Division of Epidemiology, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), random blood samples taken during the study had revealed that from HIV to Hepatitis-B and VDRL, the children had it all. While one per cent of the children were HIV positive, four per cent had syphilis and six per cent had Hepatitis-B.

The problem lies in the fact that being homeless, they fail to come within the purview of any intervention programmes. Nor do they have access to sustained health care.

Dr Sarkar said that no case of AIDS was detected in the children, adding that the disease took about 10 years to become full blown after the initial HIV infection.

AIDS might take on epidemic proportions amongst the pavement dwellers in that period of time, considering the rampant sexual abuse and lack of awareness and health care. The high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among street children is poised to become a serious health hazard in future.

Research assistant Baishali Bal pointed out that girls over the age of 15 reported higher incidence of sexual abuse when they stepped out of their homes to find work while boys were physically abused when young by older boys on the streets. About 30 per cent of the children also reported non-tobacco substance abuse.

Most of these children are either beggars, rag pickers, vendors, shoe-shiners, car cleaners or porters and about 85 per cent slept in public places like pavements, railway stations, under flyovers etc.

The study found that while majority of these children had either one or both parents, they lacked family ties or bonding, love, care and guidance, leading to increased risk behaviour like substance abuse, crime and violence.

The NICED has proposed setting up of night shelters and support centres for the street children at the public places where they stay so that proper health care and social intervention can be carried out.

There are an estimated 300 million street children across the world, struggling for survival without access to food, shelter and proper clothing.

According to the estimates of the Asian Development Bank, about 25 million children are living on the streets in Asia. India has the world's largest concentration of street children.

By Ajitha Menon (ANI)

[ Thanks to Sagnik for the link to this article at


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

10-yr-old girl molested in tony South Mumbai club

Somendra Sharma. Mumbai. Mar 3, 2010

A 10-year-old Parsi girl, who had gone to the posh Breach Candy Club for a swim on Sunday, was allegedly molested by a 19-year-old boy. The alleged molester, who was trying to flee after the incident, was caught by a few foreigners and handed over to the police. He has been identified as Imadultullah Hasantullah.

According to the Gamdevi police, the incident occurred on Sunday night when the complainant and his family had come to the club at Bhulabhai Desai Road in Breach Candy for a swim. He is a member of Breach Candy Club.

"After swimming, the family went to have dinner in the club house, while their 10-year-old daughter remained near the pool. This is when Hasantullah pulled the girl towards him and molested her," said a police official, requesting anonymity.

The official added that the incident occurred at around 8.30pm.

"After some time, the girl went to her parents and narrated the entire incident to them; after this, they went to the spot. On seeing the girl's parents, Hasantullah tried to flee but some foreigners caught him," said the official.

No details were available about the suspect. All the police said was that Hasantullah was an Indian believed to have arrived from abroad around 10 days ago.

He has been arrested and an offence of molestation, under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, has been registered. He was produced before a local court on Monday for police remand. The club officials refused to comment on the incident.

[Source: ]

Sunday, 17 January 2010

HOPE RAN and the difference it made

As you know not only did adult surivovors of CSA share their stories with Harish during the 'HOPE RUNS' campaign, but also when they saw him running with the placard today during the marathon.

Harish said, “One man just out of the blue hugged me and started crying, I asked him if he knew me and if I can be of any help to him."

He simply replied, “Thank You”.

Harish wondered why this stranger was thanking him, he thought it was a case of mistaken identity. When Harish asked him further the stranger replied, “I am a survivor of child sexual abuse too.” Saying so, he again hugged Harish and revealed that he had not shared it with anybody, but today for the first time with a stranger. He smiled and vanished into the crowd.

Everything can't be measured and valued... some differences are just immeasurable and invaluable... that moment was one of them....

See attached a photo of how HOPE RAN! : ' )

We got covered today by the Times of India, Radio Mirchi, IBN 7 and NDTV 24 X 7.

Today's Times of India (Mumbai edition), pg 29 carries Harish's story.

Thank you everyone for all your support and best wishes.

Pooja Taparia
Founder and CEO
Arpan - Towards Freedom from Child Sexual Abuse
mobile: +91.98201.35567
office: 2nd floor, unit no. 24, 105, Apollo Street, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Mumbai 400 023
facebook: arpan
You Tube:
Karmayog -


Friday, 27 November 2009

Major role for schools in preventing child abuse

By Meera Srinivasan

Friday, Nov 20, 2009

Experts believe that sustaining such efforts is real issue

Schools should pay attention to their screening and recruitment process

CHENNAI: Several events were organised in the city on Thursday to mark the ‘World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse.’ However, some activists and experts believe that sustaining such efforts is the real issue. They feel every day ought to be a ‘prevention of child abuse day’.

From abusing children emotionally for “poor academic performance” to sexual abuse, many children are being subjected to a lot of abuse, if reports of incidents highlighting these are an indication. But, there is something everyone can do to prevent this.

For instance, Lady Andal Matriculation School has been taking several efforts in this direction. In particular, it lays emphasis on generating awareness of child sexual abuse (CSA). Vice-principal Rathi Radhakrishnan says: “Everyone tends to brush such things under the carpet, saying child sexual abuse should not be there in schools. But, the truth is that it is there. Acknowledging the possibility [of CSA] is very important.”

From inviting experts in the field to address students, to sensitising teachers, the school has been taking up several efforts. “We even address the little ones in our Montessori sections about who can hug them, and how they should identify inappropriate, unacceptable behaviour of adults.”

Jayashree Padmanabhan, principal of Gill Adarsh Matriculation School, also thinks it is important for children to be given opportunities to speak out. “We wanted to know their opinion on child abuse and we organised events such as oratorical contest, debate and slogan-writing competition today [Thursday]. They came up with some very insightful thoughts.”

Underlying the role of schools in creating awareness, Tulir — Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse has initiated ‘Daring to Care,’ a school-based campaign.

The initiative seeks to rope in city schools into the space of prevention of CSA. “Many schools have been extremely cooperative. Some have even distributed flyers to their kindergarten children with their school’s logo on them,” says Vidya Reddy, executive director, Tulir. Safe schools acknowledge and accept the possibility of abuse in and out of school. “They talk about it, giving children a notion of their safety,” she adds.

Schools should pay attention to their screening and recruitment process. “They have to see what kind of training is given to teachers on child protection, what measures are taken to maintain safety in schools, whether there is a code of conduct and questions such as, How do you report an allegation of abuse? And how do you address it?”

Complaint cell

The School Education Department launched a complaint cell (Number: 28273591) two years ago. According to a senior official at the Directorate of School Education, the cell does get calls from students reporting sexual abuse. “But, the number of such calls has come down.” The Chief Education Officers have been given instructions to deal with such cases “responsibly.” And responsibly would have to be taking the matter to the police immediately, and not merely transferring teachers, which is a common practice, say activists.

Interest to spread the message from different quarters is a promising sign. An online network of mothers,, has been sending out messages to parents on the possibility for abuse online and the need for Internet safety. “Many children spend considerable time online. Many parents said they did not know that such threats existed and seemed happy to become aware,” says Bhavani Raman, founder,

[Source: ]

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

9-year-old files case of rape against dad


A depraved man raped his helpless 9-year-old daughter in Mumbai for two years and even sold her to his friends. Finally, the girl’s grandfather took courage and helped the girl file a case. Apart from this painful and shocking case in today’s crime file, there are the cases of an MD who had an itch to steal, a human sacrifice in IT city of Hyderabad and a BPO who jumped to death in Bangalore. Read on.

Crime file

Father, friends arrested for abusing young girl

In a depressing and shocking case, a 9-year-old girl in Mumbai has filed a complaint of rape against her father. The girl filed the case with the help of her grandfather.

In the horrifying complaint, the girl described how her father, Chhatish Das (33), and friends allegedly raped her for over two years, made her bones ache and sent her through hell.

The police have now arrested Das and two others -- Ashok Sahu and Shabbir Syyed.

The girl is half Cambodian and does not have any relatives from her mother's side in Mumbai. She first poured out her woes to her grandmother who informed her husband. The grandfather took her to the police station and helped her file a complaint against his own son.

According to the police, Das worked as an electrician in Cambodia and fell in love with a local woman. They got married in 2002 and had a daughter. Three years after marriage, he left his wife and returned to India. A year later, his wife sent their daughter to India.

Das's parents had thrown him out of their house for marrying without their consent. But when Das pushed his daughter to the streets to beg, they let him and the girl stay in their house in Kandivli (W).

The girl told the police that her father had forced her to have sex with him. He then started bringing in his friends and on several occasions took money in exchange for sex.

One day the girl telephoned her grandfather and complained that her father was ill-treating her. The elderly man then sent the child and her grandmother to his village. There the girl took courage to describe the trauma she had been undergoing. The shocked grandmother brought the little girl to Mumbai and told her husband about it.

The man then took the girl to the local police station and helped her file a complaint.

Senior police inspector P S Gawande of Charkop police station told the local press that the girl's story was big shock to her grandparents . The couple discussed it for a couple of days and then decided to file a police complaint on Tuesday .

The elderly couple said they were also victims to brutality as Das beat them regularly while under the influence of alcohol. The couple eventually asked Das to leave their flat with his daughter.

[ Source: ]

[Thanks to Sagnik for the link]