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Teenagers And Sexual Abuse

Every society give strong response to criminal act and legal system which is controlled and run by several organs of the govt are responsible to curb the criminal environment so that the welfare of the nation and peaceful prevail. This paper explains about existing constitutional and legal framework in India to protect and describe the right of sexually assault victim. This paper examined the role of apex court for the protection of teenagers and their basic fundamental right remain enforceable against sexual abuse.

Introduction
In today's world teenagers used to face a lot of difficulties not in studies where there is so much of competitions but peer pressure, family pressure and most important the social pressure. Social or society pressure are combined pressures that are faced by every person around everywhere and every day. For example -Marriage, Religion and Life style are the perfect examples of the social pressure. Teenagers also have to face the problem of sexual assault.

Both boys and girls are the victim of violence, including sexual assault. Sexual assault can happen in between two people who are in relationship or between strangers or acquaintances. It can happen when victim no longer wants sexual contact. So, we can say that sexual assault is any unwanted and forced sexual contact that happens without a person's consent. It includes forced kissing, touching in inappropriate manner without the other person's consent.

Teenagers: The Victim Of Sexual Assault

Teenagers who is the victim of sexual assault become morally, emotionally and physically so low and distress. Even some teens didn't know what exactly happen to them. They become clingy, angry, distress and can't handle their emotions well. Sometimes they can't even share what they feel.

According to a research:
Assault among people under the age of 18 years are common,18% of girls and 3% of boys were assaulted. 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of adult. 82% of all victims under 18 are females. Females aged 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be the victim of rape or sexual assault. Victims of sexual assault or abuse likely to experience depression.

Impact of the assault can be serious and long lasting. In both sexual and non-sexual assault in teens are associated with high level of depression, anxiety, post traumatic symptoms and risk of being assaulted again. Most assaults between adolescents didn't involve sexual intercourse. Penetration occurs only in 15% of cases. 66% of adolescent victims did not tell a parent or any other adult about the assault. Only 19% reported the assault to the police.

What does research say?
National survey on violence of over 6,000 youth ages 10 to 17, conducted between 2008 and 2014. Peer sexual assault was defined by affirmative answers to either of two questions: 1) At any time in your life, did another child or teen make you do sexual things? 2) At any time in your life, did anyone try to force you to have sex, that is, sexual intercourse of any kind, even if it did not happen?
  1. Assaults among people under the age of 18 are common: 18 percent of girls and 3 percent of boys say that by age 17 they have been victims of a sexual assault or abuse at the hands of another adolescent.

    In addition, to be counted, all offenses required physical contact and a juvenile perpetrator.
     
  2. Most assaults between adolescents do not involve sexual intercourse. Penetration occurs only in 15 percent of cases.
     
  3. Failure to disclose or report the assault is common. Most 66 percent  of adolescent victims did not tell a parent or any other adult about the assault. Only 19 percent reported the assault to the police.

Rights Available For The Victim

First step is usually the contacting to police for the young people, but decided whether to report the sexual assault or not it is somehow difficult for the young people.

Rights Available For The Teenagers

The Protection Of Children's Against Sexual Offence Act, Of 2012 Regarding Sexual Child Abuse Has Been Passed By Both The Houses Of Indian Parliament In May 2012. The Act Came Into Force From 14 November 2012.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international treaty that legally obligates nations to protect children's rights. Articles 34 and 35 of the CRC require states to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. This includes outlawing the coercion of a child to perform sexual activity, the prostitution of children, and the exploitation of children in creating pornography. States are also required to prevent the abduction, sale, or trafficking of children.

Controversy Over Age Of Consent Law Prohibiting Sexual Offence Against Children

The protection of children against sexually offence act2012was passed by both the houses of parliament on 2012. This law has been introduced for both male and female child respectively. The legislation defines various types of sexual offences against children and provides penalties for such acts.

According to a report commissioned by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007, about 53% of the children interviewed reported some form of sexual abuse. It defines the offences very clearly and includes some child friendly environment so that procedure can go smoothly with the child for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and trail of offences. However, the issue of age of consent has generated some controversy. So, here the age of consent means age at which a person is considered to be capable of legally giving consent to sexual act with another person.

Before this law was passed the age of consent was considered to be 16 years (except if the woman was married to an accused, in which case it may be lower)
Section 375 of IPC 1860, states that any sexual intercourse with a woman who is below the age of 16 years is considered to be RAPE. The consent of the person is irrelevant.

Key Provision Of The Act:

  • The Act defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years and provides protection to all children from offences such as sexual assault, penetrative sexual assault and sexual harassment. It also penalises a person for using a child for pornographic purposes.
  • The Act states that a person commits sexual assault if he touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of a child with sexual intent without penetration.
  • The Act treats an offence as aggravated if it is committed by a person in a position of authority or trust such as a member of the security forces, a police officer or a public servant.
  • It specifies penalties for the offences and provides a mechanism for reporting and trial of such offences.

Judicial Review Regarding Sexual Assault

  1. Raju Etc. vs State on 20 November, 2012
    As early as on 26.5.2004, the Supreme Court expressed the hope that the Parliament will give serious attention to the problem and make appropriate legislation. Major Singh's case (supra) was decided as early as in 1966. But, even today, there is no legislation which adequately takes care of the situation though there is a proposal for a Bill relating to child sexual abuse.

    Instances are many, where various forms of sexual assaults which may fall short of rape shake the judicial conscience. Such cases also etch more serious harm and damage to the mind and body of the child or woman than in a case of rape itself.

    But courts helplessly gaze, not finding a way to deal with certain instances of sexual assault. In a case where the accused may not have the intention to have penile penetration or an attempt to it, but he does every other heinous act to vent his lust, which may be worse than even rape or an attempt to rape, the offence which may be attracted will be a bailable offence under Section 354 IPC. The physical and psychological harm caused in such cases may be irreparable.
     
  2. Gopal Kakkad vs Naval Dubey And Anr on 29 April, 1992
    "JUSTICE DEMANDS, THE COURT AWARDS"
    Before parting with the judgment, with deep concern, we may point out that though all sexual assaults on female children are not reported and do not come to light yet there is an alarming and shocking increase of sexual offences committed on children.

    This is due to the reasons that children are ignorant of the act of rape and are not able to offer resistance and become easy prey for lusty brutes who display the unscrupulous, deceitful and insidious art of luring female children and young girls. Therefore, such offenders who are menace to the civilised society should be mercilessly and inexorably punished in the severest terms.
     
  3. Asaram vs The State Of Maharashtra on 28 July, 2009".....
    even slight penetration is sufficient and emission is unnecessary". Therefore, the absence of injuries on the private parts of a victim specially a married lady cannot, ipso facto, lead to an inference that no rape has been committed."

    Here the victim was a very young girl of six years of age and it is quite likely that full penetration did not take place as the accused is a grownup person of over 20 years of age. The injuries clearly indicate that rape, as defined in S. 275, I.P.C. did take place."
     
  4. Koppula Venkat Rao vs State Of Andhra Pradesh on 10 March, 2004
    Judgment 2004 (2) SCR 944 The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Arijit Pasayat, J. Taking lift on a bicycle after a late night movie show and travelling in darkness can result in some harrowing-traumas for a teenaged girl as the victim in the present case experienced.
    Accused-appellant Koppula Venkat Rao calls in question legality of his conviction as recorded by the Trial Court and upheld by Learned Single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (in short "the IPC")- He was sentenced to undergo 10 years RI by the Trial Court which was reduced to 5 years by the High Court.
     
  5. Anand Parkash vs State of Haryana on 11 August, 2011
    A.N. JINDAL, J (ORAL) Anand Parkash, accused-appellant (hereinafter referred to as 'the accused') was prosecuted for attempting to commit rape upon his step daughter. Consequently, on trial, vide judgment dated 18.04.2003 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Gurgaon, he was convicted and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 3 years and to pay a fine of Rs.500/- under Sections 376/511 IPC; rigorous imprisonment for 3 months for the offence under Section 323 IPC and rigorous imprisonment for 6 months under Section 506 IPC.

    Here is a case, where the accused was the stepfather. Prosecutrix, a girl about 15 years old, is the daughter of Anuradha Bhardwaj. Besides prosecutrix, Anuradha had two other sons from her first husband, on whose death, she re-married with the accused by way of Court marriage 5/6 years prior to the occurrence.

    Anuradha was working as midwife in her own shop at Farrukh Nagar, whereas accused was not doing any job. The prosecutrix, in her statement made on 30.04.2002, further disclosed that in the absence of other family members, the accused used to indulge with her in uncalled for activities and molest her. He also used to beat her and her brothers and threatened them if they would disclose about the factum of molestation to somebody, then he would kill them.

Conclusion
So, we can say that every child has the right to education. Education is the weapon to eradicate these kind of problem. Educated teenagers have capacity to differentiate between right and wrong consent, good decision-making, refusal skills and the empowerment of bystanders to intervene.

Rights and basic laws should also be included in academic work so that teenagers should aware of these assaults and know there rights properly. Parents should be friendly with their children so as to make them comfortable during such circumstances/situation. NGO's and social activist plays an important role in redressal of such issues.

Reference:
  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/full article/2441263
  2. https://raisingchildren.net.au/teens/mental-health-physical-health/sexual-assault-sexual-abuse/sexual-assault
  3. https://theconversation.com/sexual-assault-among-adolescents-6-facts-103658

Internet Source: Indian Kanoon available at:
  1. https://indiankanoon.org/search/?formInput=sexual+assault+on+teenagers
  2. https://www.prsindia.org/theprsblog/law-prohibiting-sexual-offences-against-children-sparks-controversy-over-age-consent

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Harshni Slathia

    Awarded certificate of Excellence
    Authentication No: DE35540722227-20-1220

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