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Traumas of a Child Victim of Rape in India: A Diagnostic Study

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2002 Pages: 115-132
S. Sanyal
Date Published
18 pages
This study examined the trauma of rape of minor children in India and other developing countries.
Parents of minor rape victims often express ignorance of the offense because of the failure on the part of the child to report the incident. They believe and hope that since the children are small they will be unconscious of the act and will overcome the shock more quickly than elder counterparts. The goal of this study was to discuss the trauma a victim undergoes, and seek rehabilitation for the child victim by providing her with social support and proper therapeutic treatment. The study was based on secondary source information obtained from the National Crime Record Bureau of India for the year 1997 to 1998. To observe trends in the incidences of rapes and kidnapping of minor girls, data from 1993 to 1999 were studied. The majority of the children studied belonged to the lower economic strata. The age range was 10 years and below, and 10 to 16 years. Results show that victims of early rape suffered from difficulty in sleeping, nightmares, general irritability, behavioral problems at school, acute withdrawal and depression, running away from home, and expressions of delinquent behavior. The long-term effects were more harmful since they had a detrimental impact on the self-concept and personality of the individual. Victims showed extremely low self-esteem, felt worthless, and found it difficult to succeed in life. Problems in courtship, marriage, childbirth, and sexual disorientation or psychoses could be related to childhood rape. Uniform state laws are needed to define sexual abuse in detail. Penalties and treatment of offenders need to be standardized. Stringent punishment should be give to rapists irrespective of the victim’s age. To enhance the reporting of rape cases, national forums are needed to spread social awareness and to develop confidence in the justice system. Treatment programs need to be instituted to guarantee psychiatric treatment to all identified child victims of sexual abuse. 1 note, appendix, 32 references