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The province of Manitoba will today bring forward the first legislation of its kind in Canada to compel all citizens, including computer technicians and Internet service providers, to report any images or examples of child pornography.
The initiative is being introduced as an amendment to the province’s Child and Family Services legislation by minister Gord MacIntosh and will expand the definition of child abuse, which already has a mandatory reporting law, to include child pornography.
“Under the new law, if someone comes across something they believe to be child pornography they have a duty to report it to Cybertip.ca,” said Lianna McDonald , director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the registered charity that runs the Cybertip website.
The penalty for failing to report will be up to two years in jail and a $50,000 fine, Ms. McDonald said. It’s the same penalty for those who don’t report child abuse, although Ms. McDonald said she doesn’t know of any instances where that provision has led to a prosecution.
“What it means is that under the proposed legislation, [citizens] have a legal responsibility,” she said. “The idea is to facilitate reporting.”
Ms. McDonald said that making it a legal requirement might remove some of the moral qualms that exist for those who find images of abuse on a computer, for example, and might be concerned about violating someone’s privacy.
“It certainly will facilitate things for people thinking, ‘Should I or shouldn’t I report?’ It makes it clear. For companies that repair computers, it’s clear they have a duty to report,” she said.
The proposed law could have significant implications for Internet service providers, according to Roz Prober of Beyond Borders, an organization that advocates for the protection of children.
It’s already mandatory in the United States for Internet service providers to report instances of child pornography, but the issue has not been tackled in Canada until now.
“The foot-draggers in this scenario are the Internet service providers,” Ms. Prober said. “In the U.S. they can be heavily fined [for not reporting child porn] and I think that’s the way to go here.”
Ms. Prober said she hasn’t seen the proposed legislation but expects it to be comprehensive.
Citizens will be directed to report their suspicions to the Cybertip.ca website. The site receives funding from the federal Department of Public Safety and from Manitoba Justice, Ms. McDonald said, and since 2005 it has acted as a national clearinghouse for all Internet child sexual-abuse reporting. In that time, it has received more than 25,000 reports from the public.
Ms. Prober said the site is very sophisticated and secure and would be able to resist attempts to infiltrate its database.
She said it’s important the public pass on as many tips as possible because each new image allows police to narrow in on the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse

URL – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071128.wmanitoba28/BNStory/National/home/

Do visit the website and have a look through the comments section. I find that most insightful, more than the article actually !

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Ongoing discussion – http://www.orkut.com/CommMsgs.aspx?cmm=24455884&tid=2568922879391121981&na=4

A young Adivasi girl was stripped and photographed running for protection as onlookers whipped out their ever-handy camera phones and took photographs, videos and mms clips.. another sign of technology at it’s mis-used best.

One wouldn’t consider this as Sexual Abuse really.

Look again.

Publicly exposing a young girl – she was completely naked.
The onlookers did not have good intentions on their minds when they were taking those photographs.

Further information –

We do not have concrete proof of this yet but it is alleged that the girl was sexually assaulted. Given the circumstances, it is not impossible.

Shame on whoever is responsible for this. We refuse to upload the currently available photograph of the girl for reasons of journalistic integrity.

It is unfortunate that even the most widely-circulated Kolkata daily, “The Telegraph” did not blur out her face, even though it blur out her personal body parts.

Three examples of why online safety is recommended.

1 , 2 , 3 .

The aforementioned examples, although of cases not based in India, could very well be in India soon. As a matter of fact, they are occuring in local schools without the knowledge of parents and teachers.

A few years ago, a young student of St. *’s School, Kolkata, began meeting middle-aged men whom he discovered via online chat rooms. The men would meet him at his home, or theirs, and sexually abuse him.
A friend intervened and claimed to have “cured” him of his “homosexuality” and the matter was closed. The boy, now a confused young man, is unsure of his future and is reported to be scouting around online for the only solace he knows.

A young girl who had previously lived in a repressed social atmosphere, discovered freedom over the internet for the first time. She began communicating with a vengeance, “making friends” with everybody and even posting her personal cellphone number with semi-nude photographs on her online profile. It wasn’t long before she began receiving solicitations that went beyond coffee invitations.

There are so many cases, all in India. Unless the media and society wake up to the fact that it does happen to their own people in this very country, it will continue to be a sad, repressed, pressure-cooker like existence for these victims of online sexual abuse who’s fate and post-abuse trauma is similar to those who face regular abuse.

When ?

Yesterday

There’s nothing remotely new or shocking about the concept of teachers taking advantage of students.

You might want to educate yourself to the fact that some students try taking advantage of teachers as well.

Teachers have crushes on students and vice versa (Dylan anyone?)..

Murshidabad URL – http://telegraphindia.com/1071108/asp/bengal/story_8525018.asp

Orkut has been duly updated for comments and input.

I recall a particularly handsome male tutor-slash-musician-slash-relative whom i never crushed on personally (too old), but my friends went nuts over him like he was Jim Morrison. It was silly the way they’d queue up to go to his classes just to sit and stare at him while he taught ( he was a good teacher btw), some people even claimed that he reciprocated their emotions. Yuch.

Then there was another female tutor. Lord help anyone who got on the wrong side of her at any time of the day. She gave “volatile” a new dimension altogether, but for money and male students, it was all toned down to a degree that although there wasn’t a free show on in front of your face, you just knew something was wrong.

There’s a teacher at a famously “vigilant” college who is famed for more than his erm, educational prowness. Everyone knows. The girls blog and write odes to him quite shamelessly. 🙂
There’s another teacher at the same college who has a reputation for a little more than just odes on a blog by a student. No matter how many insults i get for writing this, i will do so – student-teacher abuse.

When are student-teacher relationships non-abusive ?

For one, when both are adults! Preferably when they are not in that uncomfortable hierarchy of “me teacher, you student” and that creates an automatic imbalance in the relationship, like it or not. Keeping it out of the classroom would help.

Sweet and sexy
Cases like that of Lina Sinha, the New York school principal who was sentenced to a jail term by a US court for having sex with a 13-year-old boy, are common in India, discovers Padmaparna Ghosh

hyhyhyAkshay was a reluctant traveller and he picked the last seat on the bus to prove his point. He sat sulking by the window, unlike his other classmates, wild with the excitement that’s usual for 16-year-olds. But excitement he got. When Sheena, the 24-year-old trip organiser, picked the seat next to him, the trip just got better.

Over the next couple of days, Sheena made sure they shared the same lonely loft in the vacation camp. And, of course, they shared more than just dirty jokes and teen talk. Sheena got her pick and Akshay got his kick. Sounds like a fun trip, but it’s not.

Incidents of adult women indulging in sexual relationships with minor males, shockingly, are not skeletons in the cupboard anymore. Especially now, with Lina Sinha (picture on right), a 40-year-old NRI school principal, who was sentenced to a 14-year jail term by a US court for having sex with a 13-year-old.

The most common male reaction to “Lusty Lina’s” amorous activities was, “Wow, why didn’t I know her when I was 13.” But experts warn that it’s not funny. Sexual abuse of young boys is no more a fantasy. It is a reality that parents have to deal with. “Right after the Lina story, I read a story about a woman abusing a nine-year-old boy in Chennai. Suddenly, they are coming out of the woodwork,” says Vidya Reddy, programme facilitator, TULIR-Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse.

But who are these women? The most commonly held notion of a woman abuser is of a powerful, independent predator, who skulks around in dark alleys, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting boys. But it might be a misplaced idea. “It is a wrong notion. Powerful women have a lot of other options. Mostly women abusers are close relatives, domestic help, parents’ friends etc,” says Neelam Matai, programme manager, Save the Children, India.

Most psychiatrists and social workers agree. It is no secret that most abusers enjoy a trusting relationship with the victim. In fact, a 2007 report on child abuse by the ministry of women and child health says that sexual abuse is more prevalent in upper and middle class families. Also, among respondents, 48 per cent of boys and 39 per cent of the girls faced sexual abuse.

“It is very common in Mumbai,” says Matai. “Older women would lure young boys from the nearby slums, feed them, make them happy and then take them to Mumbai local platforms or trains and exploit them. On each of our night rounds, we found many. It is increasingly coming out in the open in Delhi also.”

Reddy though cautions that it is dangerous to profile an abuser as they could come from any walk of life and there really is no way to recognise an abuser by characteristics, though past patterns of behaviour can be used as a cautionary measure. But it is hard to say whether such incidents are on the rise or if they are just getting reported more. Matai adds that reporting of such abuse is low.

The case of Suraj, a nine-year-old boy who was being sexually exploited by a classmate’s mother, came to light because of an observant mother. Intervention by Swanchetan, a Delhi-based non governmental organisation that supports victims of abuse, finally discovered the truth. “After interviewing both of them, we found that the woman was sexually abusing the boy. The boy is in counselling with us,” says Rajat Mitra, director, Swanchetan.

Suraj, however, did not think of telling his mother about his relationship because he knew it wasn’t right. He trusted his abuser implicitly. Also, having recently lost his father, he saw the relationship as an antidote to his grief. “It is very common for older women to take advantage of children emotionally and physically. In Suraj’s case, she filled in the void left by his father’s death,” explains Mitra. Also, many abusers do not view it as a crime, as they are women.

Sheena, for instance, is unapologetic about her “fling” with Akshay. “The moment was right and it wasn’t emotional. He called the week after to talk about his exams and I really didn’t care. That was the end of it,” she explains. Even Suraj’s abuser told Mitra, “Why don’t you look at my life and me as a victim?”

Mitra explains that mostly such relationships are power games. “Abusers view themselves as victims and sometimes they are. They exploit others to gain complete control over a minor to rid themselves of the victimisation,” says Mitra.

Neither do many of the victims view themselves as such. Elaan, a Calcutta-based organisation dealing with child abuse, is currently counselling a 14-year-old boy who is “involved” with a 47-year-old woman, his teacher. According to its founder, Pranaadhika Sinha, the boy had approached Elaan seeking guidance. “He didn’t really consider himself to be a victim of abuse. In fact, his friends consider him to be a ‘human God’ having a relationship with an older woman and a teacher,” explains Sinha. The “relationship” started with the teacher not only giving him tuition but expensive gifts, including music and films. The child is also doing very well in school.

But Sinha points out that the abuse can lead to severe psychological disorder in the future, including his inability to have relationships with women his own age. “It’s also about conditioning. Boys grow up, knowing that they are sexually more powerful and they are usually the abusers and not the victims,” explains Matai.

Ripples of an abusive relationship in the childhood can be felt throughout one’s life. “The effects can be myriad. From lack of assertiveness, avoidance of confrontational situations, post-traumatic syndrome, self esteem issues, depression — all of these can fester,” says Samir Parikh, chief, department of mental health and behavioural sciences, Max Health. But frequently, while in the relationship, boys might not understand that they are being abused. Adolescence is rife with sexual experimentation and a nascent awareness of one’s sexuality. “During this time of experimentation, it could be that the child also longs for attention and excitement. Then, it is very easy to fall prey to abuse,” says Mitra.

Also, because social mores espouse the dominance of males over females, minor boys don’t realise it when they are the victims. That is just the scenario in one of the cases Sinha is dealing with, of a 12-year-old boy and his 52-year-old woman teacher. She cooks for him, buys him presents and gives him great marks. And they have sex.

“When boys are abused, they don’t often feel like victims, but like the abuser. He feels he is exerting power over her and she makes him feel like she is taking care of him, physically and emotionally,” says Debashis Ray, a Kolkata-based psychiatrist. He adds, “Young boys are also less likely to report sexual abuse because it will be perceived as a weakness.”

Not just socially, legally also child sexual abuse of boys is given short shrift. In India, sexual harassment falls under the purview of section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, which is referred to as “Violation of a woman’s modesty.” But what happens if the victim is a boy? Child sexual abuse, on the other hand, is covered by section 375 of the IPC, which deals with rape. But most child abuse workers agree that rape is not the only abuse a boy can go through. “There are a million other ways a child can be exploited. Let’s hope the Offences against Children bill will cover all sexual acts against children in a gender neutral manner,” says Reddy. The bill might come up in the monsoon Parliamentary session.

Experts agree that legally, socially or physically, childhood has to be protected, whether of a boy or a girl. While it is true that the latter are more at risk, boys are equally vulnerable. And if steps are not taken to fight abuse, boys might never be boys again.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY REENA MARTINS IN MUMBAI AND DOLA MITRA IN CALCUTTA

I don’t know Paromita from The Hindu personally as yet, but this article definitely took guts to print.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/life/2005/01/07/stories/2005010700110300.htm

Lois is someone who has had an impact on research and healing techniques, and also on me (Chennai Feb 2007) . Her contribution to the field of CSA and Incest awareness in India has been immense and we look forward to hosting her sometime in the near future.

Why is it so difficult to acknowledge the obvious ? Sex is a natural process. If it remains shrouded in secrecy it will have adverse consequences as it already has.

The recent Nithari update is that Moninder Singh Pandher is to be let off, innocent of all charges while his servant and accomplice, Surendra, is to take the blame.

It would be helpful to mention here that had there been legislation against CSA and Incest, acts like Moninders and people with his rap sheet would be serving terms without question or debate.

AUSTIN – The Texas House gave final approval Tuesday to a measure that would allow the state to sentence sex offenders who repeatedly prey on children to death.
The House voted to create a new category of crime — continual sexual abuse of a young child or children ” that carries a minimum of 25 years to life in prison and possibly the death penalty for a second offense.

The final proposal was a compromise after some lawmakers bristled at broader a death penalty provision over concerns that it might lead some molesters to kill their victims.
The House voted 119-25 in favor of the measure.

The bill is named Jessica’s Law after Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was abducted and killed. A convicted sex offender has been accused in her death. More than a dozen states have passed versions of Jessica’s Law to crack down on sex offenders and Gov. Rick Perry has deemed passage of a child sex offender bill a legislative emergency.

The Texas version would make the Lone Star State the sixth to allow some child sex offenders to be sentenced to death, although some legal experts question whether it is constitutional to use the ultimate penalty in cases where the victim did not die.

The House bill defines continuous sexual abuse of a young child as more than one sex act committed against a victim younger than 14 over a period of 30 days or more.
The first offense would carry 25 to 99 years in prison. If an offender was released and later convicted of the same crime again, he or she would face life without parole or the death penalty.

___
The Jessica’s Law bills are HB 8 and SB 5.

Self-mutilation, like Child Sexual Abuse, is another untapped evil that takes root from feelings of inadequacy and “un-loveability”.

Dr.Robin Smith hit the nail on the head by telling a self-mutilator or “cutter” – Youre not doing this because you want to die. Youre doing this because there’s so much pain inside you that you can’t get out, so what you’re doing is, you’re venting your hurt out on yourself.

The biggest mis-conception about self-mutilation is that people do it in order to “die”. That is incorrect. We don’t do it because we want to die, we’re not stupid. We do it because we lack a trusting and supportive system around us who will not judge and try to take advantage of us when we are weak.

Another reason as to why “cutters underground” has formed (my terminology for people who cut but are afraid to talk about it) is because of the attitudes and mis-conceptions surrounding self-harm. Teenagers and adults are cruel.

to be continued..

The National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People established by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has not had an easy time of determining the extent of the sexual abuse of minors within the American Roman Catholic Church. Not surprisingly, there has been considerable internal opposition. This resistance was so bad that long before its work was finished, its chairman, Frank Keating, was forced to resign after he compared the Church’s actions to the Cosa Nostra, which rather proved his point.

Certainly the fact that the report was reluctantly commissioned by the bishops who have been responsible for the crisis does not reflect well on its credibility. Nor does the fact that they only reason they ever did so was due to the constant and unrelenting pressure since the early 1990s by victims and advocacy groups, and later, the news media — not to mention the drain on their treasuries from huge settlements and dwindling contributions.

Many dioceses with much to hide did not want to co-operate. The results are still missing from some, and the rest are spinning their denials and minimalizations as fast at their highly paid PR firms can turn.

The focus was criticized as too narrow, being concerned solely with child sexual abuse. Other situations where clerics have sexually acted out with adult women and men, nuns and seminarians, have not been looked at; nor the effect on any offspring they may have sired in the process. For that matter, the personal cost to victims and their families remains uncounted. How many lives destroyed through alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex or violence have there been? How much abuse has been repeated by its victims? How many suicides and ruined families? How can the total cost ever be calculated?

There has been much complaining by victims, also, that only a handful were asked to testify, that there was too little time and too many restrictions. Many, too, point out that not all victims have yet come forward by any means. Indeed, even if there are no new cases, just the repressed memories alone of the still-unrecognized victims will guarantee that these numbers will only increase over the next twenty years.
And nothing has been said about multiple abusers and rings who swapped victims around like trading cards…

Nonetheless, A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States has generated a fog of figures, which cannot obscure the extent of this massive failure of institutional religion. It is indeed a crisis. Though this is a step forward, it is not the solution by any means, but a half-hearted admission that there is a problem.

Here are a few of the highlights.

US clerics accused of abuse from 1950-2002: 4,392. About 4% of the 109,694 serving during those 52 years.

Individuals making accusations: 10,667.

Victims’ ages: 5.8% under 7; 16% ages 8-10; 50.9% ages 11-14; 27.3% ages 15-17.
Victims’ gender: 81% male, 19% female

Duration of abuse: Among victims, 38.4% said all incidents occurred within one year; 21.8% said one to two years; 28%, two to four years; 11.8% longer.

Victims per priest: 55.7% with one victim; 26.9% with two or three; 13.9% with four to nine; 3.5% with 10 or more (these 149 priests caused 27% of allegations).

Abuse locations: 40.9% at priest’s residence; 16.3% in church; 42.8% elsewhere.

Known cost to dioceses and religious orders: $572,507,094 (does not include the $85 million Boston settlement and other expenses after research was concluded). (Hartford Courant, 2/27/04)

It should be noted that 30% of all accusations were not investigated as they were deemed unsubstantiated or because the accused priest is dead.

Unfortunately, however, these initial numbers are likely to be the only official accounting ever done by the Roman Catholic Church. As soon as the report was published, the UCCB acted swiftly to cut the National Review Board’s feet out from under it. For this was to be the preliminary report; the audits were to be completed and a larger report issued. Furthermore, the Board had planned further follow-up reports to follow the implementation of their proposals.
That will not happen now. And so the Church has lost its last, best chance of ever coming clean.
In any case, these figures are widely suspected to be grossly underestimated. For example, the late Fr. Tom Economus, former President of the Linkup, a national survivors’ advocacy group, said back in the mid-90s that he knew of “1,400 insurance claims on the books and that the Church has paid out over $1 billion in liability with an estimated $500 million pending.” (Emphasis added.)

He also said that over 800 priests had been removed from ministry and that there might be as many as 5,000 with allegations against them, which is not that far off. He often claimed that by far the most calls he received from all victims of any kind of clergy abuse were those from males who suffered abuse in their youth in the Catholic Church. Certainly these figures, which show that the highest number of victims were 12 year old boys and that 80% of the abuse was homosexual in nature, validate that anecodotal evidence, too.

Also, Fr. Tom Doyle, a canon lawyer with more experience than any in these cases, has raised many questions over the validity and methodology of the study. He has said that he thought many cases were still hidden, pointing out the low numbers for the 1950s.

‘”It’s not over with,” Doyle said. “The heart of the matter is: Why was there this massive betrayal? Why did they move [abusers] around for years, when they knew what they were doing? Why have they continued to re-victimize the victims by stonewalling, and why they have never turned in any of these known pedophiles?”‘(Hartford Courant, 2/26/04)

Additional Information from other sources

Four in 10 US Catholic nuns report having experienced sexual abuse, (a rate equivalent to that reported by American women in general), a study by Catholic researchers supported by major religious orders, has found. The study found that sisters have known sexual abuse less in childhood, dispelling what the authors call an “anti-Catholic” canard that girls fled to convents to escape sexual advances. During religious life, close to 30% of the nation’s 85,000 nuns experienced “sexual trauma,” ranging from rape to exploitation to harassment. A total of 40% reported a least one experience of that kind. NCR, 1/15/99 See The Nuns’ Stories for details.
The Wisconsin Psychological Association’s survey found offenders distributed among the following professions:
Psychiatrists 34%, Psychologists 19%, Social Workers 13%, Clergy 11%, Physicians 6%, Marriage Counselors 4%, and Others 14%.

The Center for Domestic Violence found that 12.6% of clergy said they had sex with church members. 47% of clergy women were harassed by clergy colleagues.

The Presbyterian Church stated that 10-23% of clergy have “inappropriate sexual behavior or contact” with clergy and employees.

The United Methodist research (1990) showed 38.6% of Ministers had sexual contact with church members and that 77% of church workers experienced some type of sexual harassment.

The United Church of Christ found that 48% of the women in the work place have been sexually harassed by male clergy.

The Southern Baptists claim 14.1% of their clergy have sexually abused members.

At least the Roman Catholic Bishops can take heart: they’re not alone…

It isn’t hard to figure out that the Nithari tragedy has exposed, most unsurprisingly, the incompetance and sheer Ignorance of the police with regard to knowledge on CSA.

The tragedy has shocked me to bits, as a result of which i have created a Nithari-specific blog which contains updates and insights into the situation there. It is difficult to research and maintain two blogs as it is so will do my best at updating them regularly.
The Nithari Blog URL is – http://nithari06.blogspot.com

The Blog

Elaan is an NGO dealing with Child Sexual Abuse issues.

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) and Incest are painful and unprovoked acts of violation. In India, where subjects relating to sex and personal safety are not discussed, the issue is shrouded in secrecy as the prevalence of abusive acts increases. The objective of this blog is to encourage reading, debate and constructive awareness implementation methods via the 'blogosphere.'

* Feel free to leave comments or SPEAK-OUT here!