Consentia on Multidisciplinary Research

“SUFFOCATIONS IN PEDOPHILIC SOCIETY” A Sin Against Society: Child Sexual Abuse

If Sigmund Freud is to be believed, everyone would be sleeping with their close relatives given half a chance. [1]

Child sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend is unable to give informed consent to, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society.[2] Child Abuse could be of many types like the physical or emotional, but sexual abuse here deserves special attention as the after effects of the Sexual abuse are generally physically which could tormentor the child emotionally for years. Specifically, sexual abuse is that which targets sexuality and/or sexual organs, involves sexual gestures, words, pictures, actions.[3] and Child sexual abuse involves children that may even go up to the level of fondling a child’s genitals, masturbation, oral-genital contact, digital penetration, and vaginal and anal intercourse.[4] As said in the famous show Satyamev Jayate “Shareer ke ghav to bhar jaayenge par man par lage ghav to Nassoor hain” ( Literally, marks of physical injuries will be gone but marks of mental injuries will always remain.) This is because the sexual abuse may have devastative-dormant effects on the child.

Infecting: Incest & Pedophilia


Pedophilia is basically love, (Lust would be suiting here better) for children. Pedophilia, is defined as a psychiatric disorder in persons who are 16 years of age or older typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty varies). The prepubescent child must be at least five years younger than the adolescent before the attraction can be diagnosed as pedophilia[5]. Pedophilia is sexual interest or fantasy on part of adult with a child or children.

Incest is sexual intercourse between close family members, which may be relative by blood relationship or by marriage or adoption also. Some men who self-identify as homosexual sexually exploitboys under the age of 18, just as some men who self-identify as heterosexual exploit girls under the age of 18. It would be wrong to say that only male are the sexual exploiters, and it does not follow that all homosexual men are potential sex exploiters nor does it follow that all heterosexual men pose a threat to girl children. Incest has been and it is the greatest Taboo, deviance, in the human society.[6] Therefore, generally Formal Incest that is through Marriage is forbidden in most of the religion also, which means the Marriage between close relative like brother and sister is not allowed. Even the consenting and major are not allowed to marry and have sex in most of the countries.

Incest remain unlawful ( and illegal in some parts of the world ) for it can have serious effects biologically. Especially, if involving children depending on the severity of the incident, victims of sexual abuse may develop fear and anxiety regarding the opposite sex or may have several sexual issues and may even display inappropriate sexual behavior in near or far future thus leading to harsh, undesirable and difficult to cure situations. Adults who were sexually abused as children commonly experience depression.[7] The negative effects of child sexual abuse can affect the victim for many years and can be a recurring nightmare in their adulthood.

Levi-Strauss, says Incest is the base kinship. Together with exogamy, the rule which prescribes possible marriage and/or sexual partners, it becomes base of the system of kinship which in turn is the structure on which society is based.[8] Incest along with exogamy determines the sexual partners. In his words the incest taboo is a universal rule existent in all societies which prohibits marriage and sexual relations between specific kin members.

Contrasting the universal Levi-Strauss view Freud says that incest is not a deviance not a taboo. He says it is natural urge of human, both males and females. He says It exists because we, as humans, have incestuous urges. He further added “everyone would be sleeping with their close relatives given half a chance.” [9] It need to be repressed he suggested. Slightly supporting to which Westermarck, gave a reason to it, people who grew up together would find each other unattractive.[10] He is of opinion that just because growing up together leads to unattractiveness and this thus prevents the people from Incest and maybe it is the reason Freud said “half a chance”

Sex, Sexuality & Sexual Abuse

Gender discrimination need not to be advertised, talked about or explained. Today in all the fields real or virtual Gender Discrimination is found visible or dormant. But a matter of shock arises that in the Circle of Child Sexual abuse also Gender Discrimination is no exception. It is well known that many more girls than boys are the victims of sexual abuse. Across different types of research all reliable studies conclude that girls experience more sexual abuse than do boys.[11] Studies have found that the percent of victims who are female range from 78% to 89%. Most of the offenders are Males and the abused are the females. It should not be considered that the boys are not abused. Even they are abused and like the females mostly by acquaintances and known members. But mostly their voices are shut down as the sexuality of child may be become a question.[12] Sexuality of male are at question more than the females especially in India as the head of the family is male due to the patriarchal system.

Homosexual, Male, abusers may not be sexually involved with boys on their choice, as most of them have unhappy childhoods as they may poor relationship with mother and fearful relationship with father or they themselves were the abused ones. It could be said that this made them to advance towards helpless. In most of the cases they were teachers or youth leaders who are usually engaged in helping the Children otherwise[13].There is also evidence that women who are sexually abused are at greater risk during adolescence of sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, multiple sexual partnerships, and sexual re-victimization.[14]

But another contrasting theory is suggested by Dr. James cartor he says the pedophilic have nothing to do with past self abused incidents. According to Dr. James Cartor in “Sexual abuse: A Journal of Research and treatment” says statistically it could be said that Pedophilia is not Psychological disorder  but it has something wrong to do with the wiring of brain[15] thus he is saying that if we are successful in finding the medication then we could get rid of Pedophilia. The better we understand what went wrong in the brain during development, the better we will be able to eliminate whatever factor it is that started this chain of events that led to the development of pedophilia.

For many years, scholars and practitioners have attempted to describe and categorize adult men who engage in sexually abusive behavior with children under the age of 18.  One clear finding is that child sexual abusers are not only the heterogeneous population of individuals. There are sexual offenders in all racial, ethnic, age, and socio-economic categories.  In describing child sexual abuse, researchers in this area have focused on the characteristics of the abusers themselves (e.g., static personal variables, such as sexual attraction preferences, and personality) and variables related to the context in which the abuse occurs (e.g., access to victims, isolation of the offender, and presence of substance abuse) as well as personal and situational characteristics of their victims in an effort to create typologies of abusers for assessment and treatment purposes.

When adult fully grown Victims of sexual offences, knowing their rights and duties don’t talk about these situations.  What could be expected from the innocent children. Therefore it becomes very difficult to record the data. It cannot be expected from a child who has been abused sexually to look up anyone in the eyes and if the person happens to be a kin, then it becomes all the more worse as parents won’t believe their child and the child is left to himself to attend to his trauma alone. According to survey of Rahi Foundation 64% of incest Survivors suffered during the age of 10-18 years and 32% of incest Survivors suffered during the age of 2-10 years[16]

It is the need of the hour that we get a law dealing with Pedophiles and more importantly, nature of law must be restorative, the victims should be counseled so they can live a normal life as they get abused at a very tender age and it is very difficult for them to forget and move ahead with their lives. A constant support from parents is needed and is one of the foremost thing. But the same is absent most of the time in case of Girls. Once a girl attains puberty she begins to be seen as sexually available. So, for some parents marriage is the only way to ensure that the girl is ‘unavailable’ to others for abuse. On this factor, Freud’s Theory may have another application like not only to save the girl from another but from self too as Incest Sexual desire is not a Taboo it is natural and any one can have it[17].

Unintentionally worried Indian parents may have supported the point of Freud, especially when there large Families including large number of males married or unmarried.

India & Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is on an increase spree in India and it is not an increase in the number of cases of child sexual abuse but an increase in number of instances reported and many cries are confined to the four walls and many are left unheard. Sexual exploitation of children is India’s worst kept secret. In the year of 1998, According to a study on child abuse, conducted by the Ministry of Woman and Child Development, 53.22 per cent of the children surveyed reported having faced sexual abuse. Almost half of them reported that abusers were known to them. It sampled 12,447 children, 2,324 young adults and 2,449 stakeholders across 13 states.[18]

In spite of the fact that the problem of child abuse, particularly child rape and sexual abuse, is quite rampant, India had no separate legislation to deal with such cases. says the country’s first periodic report on the implementation of the Convention of Child Rights (CRC). Prepared by the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD), the report is to be submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act has been passed after the it although.

Laws that govern the Child Sexual Abuse

In order to address various circumstances and degrees of sexual offences against children, in 2005, the Offences against Children Bill was drafted. In 2007, the law ministry rejected the bill saying that there was no reason for a separate enactment since the various issues the bill focused on were already covered by other legislations.[19] The country filled of Child labor, Child trafficking and now evident child sexual abuse, the rejection of Bill presents a pathetic image and no hope also. Such type of criticism and talks led the ministry to re consider the bill. Therefore The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill was sent to the state governments for consideration. The draft of the Prevention of Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2012 delineates various kinds of sexual abuse and the prescribed response to each under the law. It was for the objective as IPC do not make any difference between adult and child victims.   It clearly distinguishes between sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, penetrative sexual assault, aggravated penetrative sexual assault and sexual harassment. An offence is treated as “aggravated” when committed by a person in a position of trust or authority of child such as a member of security forces, police officer, public servant, etc.

In each case, the kinds of actions that fall under the section are specified, and minimum and maximum punishments given.Punishments for Offences covered in the Act are[20]

  • Penetrative Sexual Assault (Section 3) –  Not less than seven years which may extend to imprisonment for life,
  • and fine (Section 4) In re. Crl.Mc.No. 3217 Of 2013[21]
  • Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault (Section 5) –­ Not less than ten years which may extend to imprisonment for life,
  • and fine (Section 6)
  • Sexual Assault (Section 7) – Not less than three years which may extend to five years,
  • and fine (Section 8) Saint Shri Asharam Bapu Vs State[22]
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault (Section 9) – Not less than five years which may extend to seven years,
  • and fine (Section 10)
  •  Sexual Harassment of the Child (Section 11) – Three years
  • and fine (Section 12)
  •  Use of Child for Pornographic Purposes (Section 13) –  Five years and fine and in the event of subsequent conviction, seven years
  • and fine (Section 14 (1))

The Act recognizes that the intent to commit an offence, even when unsuccessful for whatever reason, needs to be penalized. The attempt to commit an offence under the Act has been made liable for punishment for up to half the punishment prescribed for the commission of the offence.[23]The Act also provides for punishment for abetment of the offence, which is the same as for the commission of the offence. This would cover trafficking of children for sexual purposes.For the more heinous offences of Penetrative Sexual Assault, Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault, the burden of proof is shifted on the accused. This provision has been made keeping in view the greater vulnerability and innocence of children.[24]

At the same time, to prevent misuse of the law, punishment has been provided for making false complaint or proving false information with malicious intent. Such punishment has been kept relatively light (six months) to encourage reporting. If false complaint is made against a child, punishment is higher (one year).  The media has been barred from disclosing the identity of the child without the permission of the Special Court. The punishment for breaching this provision by media may be from six months to one year.

For speedy trial, the Act provides for the evidence of the child to be recorded within a period of 30 days. Also, the Special Court is to complete the trial within a period of one year, as far as possible.

In the final section of the Bill, there is a detailed section that lists responsibilities of various duty bearers to the child — police officers, child support services, medical officer and case worker. It also lists the protocol to be followed by police and medical practitioners, as well as during court processes.[25] Almost all stakeholders have accepted that the current legislation is insufficient to deal with the many circumstances in which children are sexually abused. But still no such active law specific to protect Children is present to help and protect Children from this Beast. There is also an acknowledgement that social workers, superintendents of residential homes, wardens, counselors, teachers and family members all need training and sensitizing to the issue and that a minimum set of actions be put in place enabling people to help a child who is being sexually exploited. It is only by continuing to hear what children say and develop more ways of hearing them and enabling them, that mechanisms can be created to address their exploitation and punish their violators.

Conclusion: Suggesting A new Initiation

Child sexual exists in society and this reality can’t be camouflaged. Society is filled with the pedophilic and the Pedophilic incest has an adverse effect on the child. Be it Homosexual-Incest or the or the un-natural sodomy, or be it evident heterosexual inefficiency of law is common. Child-sexual abuse is common among poor and especially with girl child and is increasing day by day.

The main objective should be the rehabilitation. The National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation 1998 provides for shelter homes for rescued girls and women, restoration of such girls to their families and repatriation in case of cross border trafficking. There are also provisions for counseling, education, vocational training, recreation, in all the homes run by the Government and the NGOs. In most of the cases the family does not want to take back the girl child on the plea that the daughters in the family has got to be given in marriage and as such they can’t take back the sexually exploited girl because they will be socially boycotted.  The fact which remains is that most of the victim girls remain unaccepted to the family and to the community. What is required for social reintegration initially is that the victim must be agreeable to go back to the family. The victim must be persuaded to go back to the family through counseling and also the family should be counseled properly to take back the victim without blaming the victim for anything. Lot of awareness rising at the community level is needed to be done for attitudinal change towards such a victim. Follow-up visit and regular counseling for the victimized individual need to be continued even after the victim has been restored. To face such situation mass awareness generation programmed need to be organized, sensitization of police, panchayat and judiciary on this issue is very essential for rehabilitation of the victim.[26]

Mostly it is the dalit children who are sexually abused and girl child are raped more in comparison to boy child. The Abusers may be from unhappy childhood or may themselves be abused once but it does not give them any chance and society must not give any opportunity to do same with other innocent children. As always the social stigma is equal enemy in case of our country as it is has been seen that families of the victims are very reluctant to accept the abused child and especially if it is a girl child and voice of male child this suppressed, generally by the father fearing the child to be gay.[27] Also as the system that prevails in the police and judiciary while dealing with such a girl needs to be changed as once a girl child is rescued it is needed that she is received with sympathy. Even the court of law doesn’t provide a friendly environment. The general obstacles are the stigmatization; non-acceptance by the family; unusual behavior by the family members; blaming the victim and many such activities. The cases where the family restoration/reintegration is not possible appropriate rehabilitation programme with proper facilities need to be developed by the state and where such programme is there it needs to be developed. There are number of NGOs/CBOs in India and also the state governments have developed shelter homes for the rehabilitation of the victims so that they can be socially reintegrated one day but this process should not take too long as the victims will keep on suffering till then and will be forced to live a life of isolation.

Author Details:

Ankit Shukla and Akshara Gyan
Institute of Law
Nirma University

[1] Minkel, Freud was (half) right about Incest

[2] WHO Homepage, available at ( accessed 14 Sep 2012 )

[3] Havovi Wadia, The Sounds of Silence: Child Sexual Abuse in India, available at

[4] American Psychological Association available at ( accessed 14 sep 2012 )

[5] Britannica Encyclopedia, available at

[6] Durkhiem Emile, Incest: Origin and nature of Taboo

[7] Tong L., Oates K. and Mcdowell M.  ‘Personality development following sexual abuse’. Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 11, pp. 371 – 383.

[8] Elliot Grave, Incest Taboo, European Social and Political Research, Vol. 13 (2006 –2007)

[9] Minkel, Freud was (half) right about Incest

[10] Minkel, Freud was (half) right about Incest

[11] Douglas & Finkelhore, Child sexual Abuse Fact sheet.

[12] Wonderlich, Childhood sexual abuse and bulimic behavior in a nationally

[13] Brancroft John, Pedophilia: Human Sexualities and Problems

[14] Alexander, P. C. (1993), ‘The differential effects of abuse characteristics and attachment in the prediction of long-term effects of sexual abuse’. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, vol. 8, pp. 346 – 362.

[15] Angella Mulholland, Scientists look for neurological clues for pedophilia, available at

[16] Child Sexual Abuse: India’s Worst kept secret available on

[17] Minkel, Freud was (half) right about Incest

[18] Shah Jinal, One in Every Ten Child in India is Sexually Abused. March 2009, http://www.indian

[19] Wadia Havovi, the sound Of silence: Child sexual abuse in India

[20] Press Information Bureau, Government of India available on

[21] Kerala High Court Decision

[22] Rajasthan High Court, on 1 October, 2013

[23] ibid

[24] Press Information Bureau, Government of India available on

[25] India Might get proper sexual violence not Just Eve Teasing available at

[26] Dr.Nirmal Kanti Chakrabarti. “Law and Child”. Kolkata. R.Cambray & Co.Private Ltd.

[27] Shawn McGuffey, Gender Reaffirmation, Sexuality, Race, and Parental Responses to Male Child Sexual Abuse


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