While the country is finally addressing the issue of rampant sexual abuse faced by young girls, we must not take “bad touch” complaints from young boys lightly either. It is a fact that boys face sexual abuse too, but often issues like masculinity and misplaced notions about sexual abuse prevent people from seeing men and boys as victims. Many times such acts are also discredited as bullying or harmless teasing. But there is a stark difference between the two acts and we must take note of it.
According to a report in The Hindustan Times, a nine-year-old boy from Delhi was allegedly molested by three senior students of his school. The boy who was in the fourth standard faced molestation at the hands of students from Classes 7th, 8th and 10th in the school bus. When he complained to the bus teacher about the “bad touch” she disregarded it, assuming that he was being teased by his seniors for being cute. The seniors went on to allegedly molest him until the boy finally found the confidence to confide in his family.
If only the teacher had taken his complaint seriously, she could have saved him from so much trauma.
Never take a complaint lightly
It is possible that the teacher couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that a boy was being victimised here. That too not by grown-up men, but by his seniors. However, such assumptions often prove to be costly.
- A boy who studied in Class 4th was allegedly molested by his seniors in school on multiple occasions.
- The boy did complaint to his bus teacher, who thought he was being teased for being cute.
- Had the teacher probed further on time, the boy wouldn’t have faced such a trauma.
It was so courageous of the little boy to confide in his teacher. Many boys are unable to do so, because they are afraid of the consequences. They are afraid of being rebuked or shamed for what happened. But can we blame them? Since the teacher did nothing more than to trivialise the issue. And by not taking his complaint seriously the teacher only put him further in harm’s way.
It is time that we show the same commitment that we are showing to sexual safety of girls, for the other gender too. Sexual abuse is not limited to a specific gender. We cannot alter the perpetrators’ guilty status because their victim is a boy. No. They deserve equally harsh punishment in all cases.
The police has registered a case not just against the accused boys, but the teacher as well, for failure to report or record a case. Which is apt, because sometimes such strict action is what is needed for people to realise the gravity of a situation. Hopefully, now that the school and the teacher are facing legal consequences for their attitude, their ordeal will serve as a lesson for others.
Do not trivialise a complaint of molestation or abuse from boys. Do not discredit such a grave matter as mere teasing or even bullying. It is hard to picture young boys as perpetrators, but the current wave of sexual crimes by young boys proves it is otherwise. Being vigilant and responsive to every complaint is the need of the hour. Who knows what negligence on our part could lead to in the future.
Picture Credits: IndiaTimes
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.