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In India, Minor Boys Are Gangraping Minor Girls. How Did It Come To This?

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Minor boys raping girls. It sounds like an idea out of a nightmare. But the amount of truth it holds is painfully, unbelievably real. As India gains years, the age grade for those committing and facing crimes is going lower and lower still. In the years they are meant to grow and learn, young boys are gang raping young girls. So what exactly is it they are learning? How are they growing? Where did it all go so horribly wrong?

A case emerged from Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar on Monday, where three minor boys allegedly raped a five-year-old girl while she played outside her home. They reportedly filmed the act too. On Wednesday, yet another report from Rewari in Haryana claimed eight minor boys, and an 18-year-old, were held for allegedly gang raping a class five girl. They, too, had filmed the assault. Two incidents consecutively in a single week. 

Earlier this year in February, five minor boys in UP were held for gang raping a Dalit woman. The crime had not just been filmed but sold online as well for Rs 300, as per reports.

Why is child-on-child abuse becoming increasingly frequent? Are young boys being conditioned into behaviours they are told conforms to the patriarchal hierarchy? Whom are they watching, learning the gender-power dynamics from? Who must be held accountable?

Minor Boys Raping Girls Is The Ugly Reality We Are Living In: When Will Change Come?

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data released in 2020 shows that while the share of minors facing rape in India went down from 27.8 percent to 15.4 percent in the last year, the rate of juveniles committing these crimes remains alarmingly high. 2750 juveniles were arrested in 2019 on rape and assault charges with one minor arrested everyday on average.

How do boys far from adulthood take to these behaviours?

Delhi-based Dr Sarika Boora, a clinical psychologist, tells SheThePeople such sexually violent behaviour in young boys is not biological but learned. “If they’ve seen the father or other male figures around them getting hostile, violent, they may start believing man is dominant. That this is what masculinity is.”

“The social learning theory states children learn by observing or imitating. So if that is what they are seeing around them, it’s what they are picking up on. There is also no information about sexual gratification or self-pleasure, peer pressure, social media exposure. All of them are factors that possibly play roles.”

There is also ample study to show that child-on-child abuse may stem from other sexual abuse experiences. A 2001 paper by Daniel Bromberg and Blair Johnson themed around child sex abuse notes that a child engaging in abusive behaviours towards others may have previously been abused by an adult themselves.

Where male perpetrators are concerned, the incidence of patriarchy cannot go unacknowledged.

At homes, on streets, in schools – everywhere – women are disadvantaged. Stereotypes and gender roles doggedly pursue them in ways that allow for men to rise up above them and command. And if this is information young boys are picking up on from watching adults around them, doesn’t the burden of transformation fall first on us?

Corrective measures through sex education, sensitisation, schooling, camps, rehab homes can assist in eliminating myths, misinformation and imbalanced understanding in children, Dr Boora says. Alternatively, acting to empower women can also help in balancing the scales.

Change clearly needs to begin outwards and work its way in. When society straightens its skewed perspective of the gender-power-crime nexus, that breeds so much inequality, will children grow better. Because they learn when we learn. 

Views expressed are the author’s own.