New Delhi, April 25: Woman and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today proposed amendment of an existing "scheme" for boys, who have been raped or sexually exploited, to be compensated on the lines of a similar law for girls.
She also announced a study on male survivors of child sexual abuse -- a first-of-its-kind study exclusively for males.
"Another much-neglected sphere of child sexual abuse is male survivors. Child sexual abuse (CSA) is gender neutral. Boys who are sexually abused as children spend a lifetime of silence because of the stigma and shame attached to male survivors speaking out. It is a serious problem and needs to be addressed," she said in her response to a petition on Change.org by filmmaker Insia Dariwala on male child sexual abuse.
The minister said that following the petition, she had instructed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in September 2017, to look into the issue of male survivors.
"As per recommendations that emerged from the conference, it was unanimously decided that there should be an amendment in the existing scheme for victims of CSA, to also include compensation for boys who have been sexually abused or raped," she said.
During this conference, the NCPCR studied a preliminary research conducted by Dariwala with 160 male survivors of sexual abuse from across the country, which revealed a possible correlation between unresolved sexual trauma on boys, and increasing violence on women and children.
"Based on this study, the NCPCR has decided to invite Insia, with due support from Adrian Philips of Justice and Care, to conduct a larger study on male survivors of child sexual abuse, starting with Observation Homes, and Special Needs Homes," she said.
The last official study on child sexual abuse was conducted by the WCD Ministry in 2007, where it was found that 53.2 per cent of children had experienced one or more form of sexual abuse. Out of this, 52.9 per cent were boys.
In February 2018, WCD Ministry had also announced that it will consider measures to help adult survivors of child sexual abuse to report their abusers based on a Change.org petition by Purnima Govindarajulu, a conservation biologist based in Canada.