Friday, December 28, 2007

A New Year's Resolution

I will NOT let ignorance take priority over healing and justice.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Indian Express Report on WAD

There are three reports in total , of which we have one. The articles required are from The Telegraph and The Indian Express

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Team at Star Theatre On WAD 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

World AIDS Day

Elaan, in partership with SAATHII mehendi-tattooed and quized it's way through WAD 2007 at Star Theatre this evening.

Participating NGO's - SAATHII (they conceptualized the event and laid the foundation with Priya Entertainment), Elaan ( with CSA at the forefront of all activities ), Diksha (an organization that works with the children of sex workers) and SPARSH, an organization which works with positive patients (apologies if i am mistaken)

Venue - Star Theatre rooftop amidst visitors and a foodpark

Duration - 6:30 to 8:15pm

Elaan's participation included - Overall documentation, The 20 question AIDS quiz with assistance from SPARSH and Mehendi tattoos for everyone ( keeps the AIDS ribbon on for longer).

Participants from Elaan : Pranaadhika, Mirna, Vijay, Madhurima, Mansi, Debolina, Abhinandan, Shreya, Bidisha and Chhandak ( who isn't officially a part of Elaan yet but will be).

Invisible participation from photographer and uncle Vivek Devburman who wasn't able to attend owing to an injury, but his camera made it. :-)

Highlights : Souvik as Lola (a much "slimmer,sexier,cuter, more romantic" Bula di) and his assistant in his many avatars / Mirna's beautiful "my brother nikhil" medley" and the sporting people who allowed us to (mehendi) tattoo them with AIDS awareness messages and their own NGO names. I have reason to believe that the latter option was rather popular !

Lowlights : The audience wasn't particularly delighted at the concept, despite our best efforts. However, not to be dampened, the participants themselves went out of their way to involve the handful that were interested during the quiz and Souvik/Lola had everyone in splits with their one-liners. The lighting could have been better as it was an evening event. Kolkata shone and Kolkata froze us out.

The important thing is, we did not back down from our individual messages. Homosexuality, Child Sexual Abuse, "jonno" (the bangla word for sex) were all mentioned as part of the programme and that gave us all a lot of satisfaction.

CSR or not, my good sirs, you may NOT stifle our Constitutional right to free speech.

Special mention : The kids representing Diksha were Stupendous. Mindblowing.

Photographs are huge (file size), will upload later. More discussion/feedback on the orkut community.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Manitoba to introduce mandatory reporting of child pornography

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," 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 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


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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Adivasi Girl stripped - and everyone took photographs (?!)

Ongoing discussion -

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.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Elaan in 2005 - down good o'l memory lane

Thinking about the Government's recent wake-up call to Sex Education pulls me backwards to this event at Oxford Bookstore which we hosted way back in the summer of 2005.

Dr.Sibnath Deb and Brother Brendan MacCarthaigh attended and provided some valuable input on the past and present statistics of abuse and incest in India and abroad.

The latter speaker's statements and crackling sense of humor educated and entertained while Dr.Deb's statistics roused verbal violence in the form of audience members wishing to inflict extreme physical pain on offenders. I recall being asked to speak but felt no need to, owing to the chemistry between the speakers and the spoken with (not to, mind you!).

Here's the URL , please ignore the photograph -

World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

November 19th is the day we remember the promise we made to our children.

It is the day we read the UNCRC and make a check list to see if we are really giving our children their "writes" and "rights".

Elaan has been occupied with in-house restructuring and longterm planning activities and will not be holding an event this year.

We are, however, working on a 5 tier sex education plan who's longterm objective IS intended to benefit the child in conformity with the UNCRC, which India signed in 1992.

[UNCRC = United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Online Abuse and Safety

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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Teacher - Student Abuse - Murshidabad

When ?


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 -

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.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The day Channel [V]'s MIR team came a' visitin'

The team was awoken from it's mid-week stupor by a group of young (ok not-so-young!) video bloggers from Channel [V] Mumbai.

The team was in the city, shooting for a documentary series titled "My India Report" or MIR, which is on air from November [Thursdays 7:30pm only on Channel [v]!!].

What interested us about the concept was -

Youth-to-youth interaction
Free speech (ah!) :)
Current issues in focus
Common target groups

Pujarini, Shreya, Rohit, Vijay and yours truly responded to the team's intelligent questions and at points, i think we developed a heightened respect for each other's self-confidence, esp' Pujarini's "virginity" response!

Credit goes to the [V] team for asking offbeat questions on Sex education and allowing us to speak freely on relevant topics such as CSA, Incest, Law and CSA, Virginity, Sex, Marriage, Politics, Education and a plethora of other matters that DO affect our generation.

Azhar wrote a lovely account of his experience in Kolkata here -

We're waiting for the first Kolkata episode of MIR now, and are hoping fervently, that we haven't messed up!

Thank you to Azhar and the Channel [V] team for a memorable evening. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lusty Lina and the Female Perpetrator

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.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Workshop on April 7th

We hosted our first workshop of the year at our new office on Saturday April 7th. Those in attendance numbered 12, as we're concerned with the impact/triggering probability of our sessions and would ideally like to keep the participant number under 15.

The workshop was titled CSA and Incest Awareness in the Indian Context.

It was inclusive of -

A film screening (which we later realized was a mood-spoiler)

A number of "chit" games

A mini-lecture and a few case studies from Achin, our very own criminal lawyer

Debates and myth-busters from facilitators and participants


A concluding poster-making activity where 4 groups were asked to bring forward the learnings of the day's workshop in the Social, Legal, Familial and Religious context.

Lunch was partaken of during the film screening.

The next workshop will be on DWD or Dealing with Disclosure of abuse and trauma. for further details.

Enjoy the photographs, courtesy Bidisha :)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

US initiative

There are a good number of organizations in the US that are actively tackling not only CSA but other related issues by building teams and creating community-centered initiatives that are active in schools, colleges, community halls, clubs and public places.

Courtesy Askios's excellent and timely updates on news about CSA awareness, here's a link that i liked very much. - excellent resources and information on building an initiative to tackle violence against women and girls.

what i liked most about this was the fact that they include men in the decision-making and participatory process, something which Elaan is also doing actively through sensitizing, involving and speaking with boys and men about CSA and related issues.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hindu article on CSA, India

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

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.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Final Approval to Jessica's Law

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.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


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..

Treatment for Pedophiles (thank you Askios)

ATASCADERO, Calif. During five years of psychotherapy at a treatment center here for sex offenders who have finished their prison terms, Bill Price, a pedophile who admits to 21 victims as young as 3, has constructed a painstaking plan for staying straight.

A requirement of his treatment, the plan catalogs on five single-spaced pages the tactics Mr. Price has learned to stop molesting.

There are 42 so far, including avoiding places where children congregate, abstaining from alcohol, shunning the Internet and sniffing ammonia whenever he has a deviant thought.

"It was just like a hunt for me," Mr. Price, 59, a former Sunday school teacher, said of his sexual crimes. "I kept choosing children because they were easier prey; they were easier to deal with than women."

Treatment plans like Mr. Price's, known as relapse prevention, have been a cornerstone of efforts to reform sex offenders for the past 20 years. Yet there is no convincing evidence that the approach works, or that others do either.

Similar to aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous, relapse prevention has sex offenders own up to wrongdoing and resign themselves to a lifelong day-to-day struggle with temptation. But one of the few authoritative studies of the method, conducted in California from 1985 to 2001, found that those who entered relapse prevention treatment were slightly more likely to offend again than those who got no therapy at all.

Clinicians who work with sex offenders cling to relapse prevention nonetheless, and its durability speaks volumes about the troubled, politically fraught science of treating sex offenders. Not only is relapse prevention of questionable value, but so are the tests to gauge whether sex offenders in treatment still get inappropriately aroused, the drugs used for so-called chemical castration and the methods of predicting risk of reoffending.

Treatment methods have become particularly topical as thousands of sex offenders are confined or restricted beyond their prison terms under civil commitment laws on the books in 19 states. The laws have been found constitutional in part because they aim to provide treatment if possible; New York legislators announced last week that the state would soon allow civil confinement.

On average, the civil commitment programs cost four times more than keeping sex offenders in prison. But too little research has been conducted into how to treat sex offenders, experts say, putting psychotherapists and others working in civil commitment centers at a distinct disadvantage.

"It has never been regarded as a legitimate and recognized topic for research by psychologists, " said Robert A. Prentky, director of research at the Justice Research Institute in Boston. "There is a very strong undercurrent of disrespect for this area of research and perhaps even skepticism, frankly."

As recently as the 1970s, research on treating sex offenders was practically nonexistent. Barbara Schwartz, a psychologist with New England Forensic Associates in Arlington, Mass., said that when she wrote her first paper on rehabilitating sex offenders in 1971, "I read everything there was to read, and I had a half of one page of references."

That is partly because sex offenders present major challenges as research subjects. There are far fewer convicted sex offenders than most other kinds of criminals, so sample groups are unreliably small. And sex offenders tend to be so secretive that "it's really hard to get information from them that you can have confidence in," said Ted Shaw, a forensic psychologist in Gainesville, Fla., who has treated offenders since 1982.

Even now, in an advanced phase of California's treatment program for the most persistent sex offenders, Mr. Price says he questions his ability to keep his urges in check. His relapse prevention plan says that if let out, he will seek more treatment at Pure Life Ministries in Kentucky, whose Web site says its goal is "leading Christians to victory over sexual sin."

"I'm very afraid of just being out there," Mr. Price said, sitting near the nasturtiums and petunias he had grown in a courtyard of the Atascadero State Hospital here, which includes a wing for civilly committed offenders. I'm less dangerous than I was, but I'm definitely in touch with my dangerousness. "

Treatment in Phases

During one therapy session, Mr. Price and five other men aggressively tested one another's ability to stay straight, while two social workers moderated. Sitting in a circle in a locked conference room, briefly sealed off from the loud, grim bustle of the hospital halls, they fell into an argument over whether to protect a young new arrival from predatory older residents.

"If I can save this kid from being hustled or taken advantage of," said Paul George, a convicted pedophile who has admitted roughly 100 offenses, "I'm going to at least try to make that effort."
But another man pointed out that Mr. George had habitually groomed child victims by acting as their protector, asking him, "How was that different from this situation?"

At most civil commitment centers around the nation, offenders young and old meet several times a week for group therapy rooted in relapse prevention as well as what are known as cognitive-behaviora l techniques. While the former is meant to curb sex offending in particular, the latter are intended to change broader destructive patterns of thinking and reacting, and are commonly used in treating other ailments like anxiety.

Civilly confined men move from one phase of treatment to the next, learning to recognize which situations, thoughts and behaviors have led them to offend, developing skills to avoid them, and applying those skills to their daily lives. They try to learn empathy by writing detailed letters to their victims and even essays in their voices.

"It's a slow business," said David Thornton, the treatment director at Wisconsin's civil commitment center. "You're talking about years of work, two steps forward, one step back."
Dr. Thornton said relapse prevention forced sex offenders to focus too heavily on a concrete list of high-risk situations - sometimes as long as 50 pages - that could overwhelm them and lead to failure. Wisconsin's program rejects relapse prevention and sticks to cognitive-behaviora l techniques in an effort to change deep-rooted traits and behaviors.

Instead of helping a sex offender compile a list of specific situations to avoid, therapists in Wisconsin might seize on the fact that he reacts impulsively when something upsets him, teaching him self-regulation skills. Instead of having the offender recount every last detail of his crimes, they might help him correct long-held misperceptions about children (that they enjoy sex), power (that it is best attained by raping or molesting) and so forth.

Some who represent offenders in Wisconsin, though, say that even the new program there has not answered offenders' frustrations about their ability to progress in it and to demonstrate that progress.

"The program has gotten larger, more involved and progressively longer," said Robert W. Peterson, a lawyer in Wisconsin who has worked on such cases since 1998 and says he has seen the state's program shift repeatedly in design and focus.

"Regardless of the structure of the treatment program, the duration of the treatment program, the nature of the treatment program," Mr. Peterson said, "what we basically have is living experiments. "

Research Is Sparse

Reliable studies on the treatment of civilly committed offenders do not exist, since so few have been set free. Much of the research into the treatment of sex offenders has come out of Canada, where national criminal history records are easily accessible.

Canadian psychologists have studied not only treatment outcomes but also risk assessment, or determining who is likely to reoffend.

Combining findings from hundreds of smaller studies, R. Karl Hanson, senior research officer for the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in Canada, has found that roughly 15 percent of convicted sex offenders are caught reoffending after five years and that those driven by deviant sexual interests, like pedophiles and exhibitionists, are the likeliest to do so.

Dr. Hanson's research has also suggested that even lifelong offenders tend to stop, for the most part, by the time they reach their 70s.

He said various studies had shown that "most treatments don't work very well," but that, over all, treatment had a modest beneficial effect. One analysis that he published in 2002 found that 12 percent of offenders who got treatment were caught committing new sex crimes, compared with 17 percent of untreated offenders.

Researchers have found that chemical castration, or using hormonal drugs to curb sexual appetite, can be problematic, too.

Doctors have experimented for decades with antiandrogens, which block the effects of sex hormones like testosterone and are most commonly used to treat advanced prostate cancer. But while some consider antiandrogens crucial for the most predatory offenders, the drugs remain controversial, not least because they are expensive and can cause weight gain, osteoporosis and breast development. It is also hard to ensure that released offenders keep taking the drugs.
More than half of states with civil commitment programs say they allow voluntary antiandrogen treatment, but as of last fall, only California, Illinois, Washington and Wisconsin had more than one offender taking the drugs, which can cost several hundred dollars a month. Dr. Fred S. Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic in Baltimore and a longtime critic of civil commitment, said he was troubled by the scant use of antiandrogens.

"I get letters from men around the country, in prison or sometimes civil commitment, asking if I can help them in their efforts to have it made available," Dr. Berlin said, "because the administrations in their facilities are not even willing to discuss it with them."

Here in California, where about 40 civilly committed men took antiandrogens several years ago but only four do now, Jesus Padilla, a clinical psychologist at Atascadero State Hospital, said the drugs did not address the underlying emotional problems that lead to offending, nor even necessarily eliminate sex drive.

"I've had numerous situations where they say they are working just fine," Dr. Padilla said of civilly committed men on antiandrogens, "only to catch them having sex with each other or engaging in deviant sexual fantasies even though their testosterone level was down to zero."
Some doctors see more potential in antidepressant drugs, which can dampen sexual desire while also curbing compulsive behaviors like chronic masturbation, which can preclude offenders from participating in treatment. Some civil commitment programs prescribe antidepressants sparingly or not at all, while others, including South Carolina's and Wisconsin's, have dozens of men taking them.

One approach that civil commitment centers have avoided is surgical castration, though at least one state, California, allows it if the offender pays for the procedure himself.

In Virginia, the
General Assembly considered a proposal last year to allow voluntary surgical castration as an alternative to civil commitment, but took no action. One pedophile in Virginia castrated himself in a jail shower with a shoelace and a razor blade as his civil commitment trial approached.

Douglas Carlin, a convicted rapist who completed treatment and was released a year ago from the commitment center in Florida, said he thought a lot of offenders there were deceiving their therapists.

"Most of those guys, they are just faking it to make it," Mr. Carlin said. "They're just waiting to get released so they can go right back to what they were doing."

Tools of Assessment

Therapists can gauge the success of various treatments by observing offenders' behavior, interviewing them and using two instruments. All have serious shortcomings.

One instrument, the polygraph, is routinely used to determine if people continue to offend once conditionally released or have deviant thoughts in the course of treatment. Civil commitment centers also use polygraphs to make sure an offender has admitted all his crimes, a requirement for progressing past the early stage of relapse prevention treatment.

"Usually they will give up lots of information soon after failing a polygraph test," Dr. Thornton, the Wisconsin treatment director, said.

But polygraphy, which measures blood pressure, breathing rate and perspiration while a series of questions is asked, is generally considered so unreliable that its results are inadmissible as proof in court. Some offenders, especially psychopaths who feel no anxiety when lying, can beat it, experts said.

"Polygraph on its own isn't the answer to anything," said Dr. Don Grubin, a forensic psychiatrist at Newcastle University in Britain who has studied the tests. As part of a bigger package it seemed to have an effect ” to help reduce the risk of reoffending. "

The other device routinely used at civil commitment facilities is the penile plethysmograph, which measures changes in the circumference of the penis while the offender is shown sexually suggestive pictures of men, women or children.

Some clinicians and offenders say it is easy, particularly in a laboratory, to stifle arousal and thus cheat on a plethysmograph test.

Mr. Carlin, the Florida rapist, said that during one plethysmograph test, "I just stared at a shelf of cleaning products and read the labels."

The field of risk assessment, or determining which sex offenders are likely to repeat their crimes once released, has been equally slow to evolve, even as judges and juries are keeping more men locked up after their prison sentences in the belief that they will be dangerous on the outside.

A cottage industry of professionals who diagnose sexually violent predators has developed in the last two decades, and several hundred psychologists, often with little or no background treating sex offenders, make a lucrative business of recommending who should be committed.

During a recent commitment trial in St. Augustine, Fla., one psychologist with hardly any experience treating sex offenders told a jury he had evaluated 350 candidates for civil commitment and testified in dozens of commitment trials since 2000.

Some in the field question why professional organizations like the American Psychological Association have not set ethical and training standards for the many psychologists entering the civil commitment field.

"I don't think, in my personal experience, that the vast majority of the examiners I've come across have sufficient working knowledge of the empirical literature," said Dr. Prentky of the Justice Research Institute.

But that literature is still of limited use. Most actuarial tools used to predict someone's risk of recidivism consider only unchanging factors, like their number of past offenses and the sex of their victims. Some scientists say that so-called dynamic factors - how much treatment an offender gets, for example, and how old he has grown - should factor heavily into actuarial risk assessment, too.

"Science hasn't gotten there yet," said Eric Janus, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn., who opposes civil commitment.

Professor Janus said he hoped for "an explosion of knowledge" about how to prevent sexual violence before it happened, which he said would prevent far more sex crimes than civilly committing offenders.

That sort of research is unlikely to happen in the United States, Dr. Berlin and other experts said, because so many Americans believe that the only investment in sex offenders should be punitive.

"People need to recognize that these are not just criminal justice problems but also public health problems," Dr. Berlin said, "and the surgeon general as well as the attorney general ought to be supporting research in this area."

Earlier efforts to rehabilitate sex offenders, like Freudian psychoanalysis and electric shocks to the skin, failed definitively decades ago. A recent case in Orange Park, Fla., offered more evidence that relapse prevention treatment is no solution, either.

There, the authorities say, a convicted rapist who had spent 12 years in prison and 5 at the Florida Civil Commitment Center raped and killed a young woman before dawn on Jan. 23 after following her into the veterinary clinic where she worked.

The suspect, Michael Renard Jackson, 37, won release from the commitment center in 2005 after reaching the highest levels of a relapse prevention treatment program, people familiar with the case said.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Internet Safety - Do's and Don'ts For Parents

If you're new to the Internet, learn as much as you can about it so you can offer informed advice to your children. Find out what makes the Internet attractive to children and what it has to offer them so you can explore different sites together and help them avoid potential pitfalls and danger areas.

• Be aware when your children are using the Internet and establish some ground rules about when they're allowed to use it. You might want to restrict use to certain hours of the day so you can supervise your children while they surf.

• Make surfing a social activity by moving the computer out of the bedroom and in to a front room or a family room. That way, family members can be on hand to offer advice should problems arise.

• Always discourage your children from giving out personal information, such as their address, their school, their phone number or their photograph, especially in chat rooms and on bulletin boards. They need to be made aware that people on-line aren't always what they seem, even people who become pen friends or 'keypals'. Ask them about the friends they've made on the net - get to know their net friends as well as you know their real-life friends.

• Always discourage your children from planning face-to-face meetings with someone they've met on the Internet. Ask them to alert you if they are approached for a face-to-face meeting. Should your child set up such a meeting, always make sure you are present - never let them go alone.

• Consider using some of the filtering tools available. These are software programmes a user can install on his or her own computer to monitor Internet use, block access to specific types of material such as sexually explicit or violent material, prevent children from accessing the Internet at certain times, or prevent children from revealing personal information online. Browsers designed specifically for children are also available - these act as a gateway between your computer and the Internet by filtering out sexual or otherwise inappropriate words and images before they reach your screen. Some ISPs offer these filtering systems, other packages are available commercially.

• Teach your children never to open emails and attachments other than from people they know and trust - they could contain viruses or explicit material. Also, be careful when you and your children are shopping online. Check you are dealing with a bona fide company and that you are entering a 'secure site' before giving out any credit card details.

• Encourage your children to inform you if anything on a website or in a chat room or message board makes them feel uncomfortable. Tell them not to worry and that it's not their fault if they see something rude or someone's bothering them online. Teach them to leave the chat room or log off from the site immediately if they feel uncomfortable and to alert you of their concerns.

Link courtesy -
The Elaan community on is doing very well.. current discussions range from Incest outrage to how to deal with confronting an abuser.

For those who aren't a part of it yet, do join in -

Guj and i are heading to Kathmandu, Nepal this Sunday to present our gameplan with regard to CSA awareness and outreach. More importantly, as Guj pointed out, this being an international conference/workshop, it'll be more important for us as representatives of India, to bring forward "Indian Sociology" .. in other words societal make-up.

Do wish us luck ! :D

Friday, March 2, 2007

Website Submissions -MySurvivorStory

This is an open invitation for survivors of sexual abuse to post their stories, poetry and quotes which will be put up on the Elaan Official Website which is currently under construction.

Please email your material to & cc it to

P.S -

  • The material needs to be yours. If you wish to quote someone who's work inspired you, please give them due credit.

  • You can write your real name as author if youre comfortable with it being displayed on a 'public' website. If you are not, please SPECIFY in your email and we will quote you as Anonymous.

  • There is no deadline as such for submissions, but ASAP would be preferable. However, we understand the sensitivity and triggering quality of catharctic writing, so we would recommend that you take your time.

Who said Orkut didn't have plus points ?

Shyama, one of the newest and most active members of our orkut community has written one of the most passionate blogposts that ive read in a while.

Do read it here.

Just a suggestion - writing is a double-layered advantage.. How about a Bloggers group that focuses on CSA awareness ?

Any takers ?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Freud contradicted

Scientists explain why incest revolts us
Maggie Fox

Thursday, 15 February 2007

The findings are a challenge to the ideas of Sigmund Freud (Image: Max Halberstadt/ Library of Congress)

Revulsion and taboo against sex with family members is a natural instinct and isn't taught, say US researchers, whose findings challenges some basic tenets of Freudian theory. Cognitive psychologist Dr Leda Cosmides from the University of California Santa Barbara and colleagues report their findings in today's issue of the journal Nature. "We went in search of a kin detection system because some of the most important theories in evolutionary biology said such a thing should exist," says Cosmides."It should regulate both altruism and incest disgust."

The research team found that humans have an inbuilt system that does both."[Our] data shows that the degree to which we feel those things is governed by these cues that, for hunter-gatherers, predict whether somebody is a sibling. And it works regardless of your beliefs - who you are told who your siblings are," she says.Cosmides and her colleagues tested 600 volunteers, asking them all sorts of questions jumbled together so they would not know what was being studied. "We asked them how many favours did you do for this particular sibling in a month. We asked if this sibling needed a kidney, how likely would you be to donate this sibling a kidney." And they asked about all sorts of ethical dilemmas, including questions about sexual relationships with siblings. Forbidden fruitAmong the volunteers were people who had never shared a home with their siblings - for instance, full- or half-siblings born 10 or even 20 years apart.What determined incest disgust and altruism was the same - how much time an older sibling spent watching his or her mother care for a younger one, or how much time the two spent together in the same household."

If you co-resided with them for a long time as a child, you'd treat them as you'd treat any full sibling. This seems to operate non-consciously, " Cosmides says. Especially strong was the effect of watching one's mother care for a younger child. "They would be very altrustic towards that baby and they'd be grossed out at the idea of sex with that baby as an adult," Cosmides says. She says women are especially sensitive to this. "One whiff of possible siblinghood and that's it for you if you are a woman," says Consmides.

The study contradicts the teachings of Sigmund Freud, who described Oedipal urges and conflicts, Cosmides says."He thought you are attracted to your relatives and your siblings and parents and it takes the force of culture and society to keep you from committing the incest that is in your heart," she says.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Albert Benschop

Criteria: The American Ministry of Justice employs five criteria to decide whether an image can be considered to be pornographic: "They must focus on the genital area, show unnatural poses, depict children as sex objects, imply that the children are willing to engage in sex, and have a suggestive setting."

In societies with a somewhat developed civilization child pornography is usually a moral stumbling block of the first degree. When children are misused for the enjoyment of adults almost everybody immediately has the feeling that a moral limit is passed. The distribution of child pornographic images via the internet has therefore been the subject of heated discussions for years. Although the —for that matter very small— demand for child pornography remains, there is hardly anyone who dares defend the production and distribution of such visual material in public. This isn't strange in a country where child pornography is a social taboo and criminally forbidden.

In this article an overview is presented of the ways in which child-pornographic images are distributed via the internet. In Regulation and Self-Regulation of the Internet (in Dutch), and more in particular in Regulation of CyberPorno (in Dutch) an analysis is presented on how these practices can be suppressed.

Childporno is not the same as pictures of nude children. Childpornographic material is the evidence of a crime, i.e. sexual abuse of children. The legal definition of childporno in the Netherlands is “a picture of someone who apparently hasn't reached the age of sixteen yet, alone or with someone else in a pose intended to arouse sexual stimulation”. A picture of a pose of a nude child as such doesn't fall under the penalty clause, even if there are persons who may be sexually stimulated due to their inclination. Therefore, the crux of the legal definition of childporno isn't that the picture is primarily made and distributed in order to arouse others sexually, but the protection of the minor against sexual exploitation [the Dutch minister of justice, W. Sorgdrager, Memorandum to article 240b, 20.2.95]. The Dutch legislation concerning this point is extensively described in Regulation of Cyberporno (in Dutch).

Children who are depicted in childpornographic pictures and films are involved in sexual acts and are manipulated by the photographer or filmmaker in such a way that they satisfy a whole range of fantasies. The portrayed children seldom show signs of aversion or disgust; they usually look cheerful or neutral. This reinforces the rationalization and justification processes for the sexual interest in children by adults for a large audience. The children are depicted as 'willing sexual beings'. Yet, every childpornographic representation starts with the sexual abuse of a child. Behind every picture hides an abused child.

No reliable statistics are available of the number of children that are victimized by childporno, nor of the number of productions or consumers [Frenken 1997]. Childpornography is produced behind closed doors. All participants compel each other to secrecy because they can all be blackmailed. For victims of childporno or childprostitution it is usually very difficult to come forward with their story. Not seldom are they threatened by the perpetrators who operate in the scene of organized crime. According to Unicef several millions of children and youngsters are sexually exploited worldwide. According to an estimate of the UN Human Rights Commission in 1998 10 million children are used as sex objects by adults worldwide. Increasingly younger children are involved — starting with babies of a few months old.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

When words fail..

Thank you, Anirban, for this.
Much appreciated.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


This is a link for those who are on orkut (or irk-ut as it gets sometimes).

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Global Child Porn Ring Busted

Number of Suspects - 2,361

Number of countries - 77

Age of the youngest victim - 5

Kudo's to the Austrian Police for cracking down on these sick perverts.

link to article -

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The HOUNDDOG controversy

More propaganda to ensure the success of a film ?

Even before it hit the Sundance Film Festival, Deborah Kampmeier’s Hounddog, also known as ‘that Dakota Fanning rape film’, was generating enough sanctimonious sermonising to give any Southern, snake-kissing, Pentecostal preacher a run for his money. Set in Alabama in the 1950s, and featuring many snakes, it tells the story of Llewellyn, a motherless young girl (played by Fanning) who finds relief from the indignities of life with her bible-bashing grandmother and abusive father in her obsession with Elvis Presley. It includes a scene in which Fanning, aged 12 at the time of shooting, dramatises Llewellyn’s rape at the hands of the milk delivery man.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Religion and Nithari

Here's what Catholic India has to say about CSA and Nithari

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Incest still happens

This article proves it.

Disgusting but true. An adult woman being "forced" into becoming sexually involved with her own son might seem unbelievable, but circumstances might state otherwise.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Do you remember Father Birmingham ?

Hand of God is a rivetting documentary film about a young man's journey through the healing process after being sexually molested by a priest known as Father Birmingham. I doubt the film will be released in India but i intend on screening it as soon as i acquire a copy of the DVD.

On perusing the website i found the letters particularly revealing.. over 30 people responded to Paul's newspaper advertisements, making one wonder as to how many people exactly had been subjected to Birmingham's paedophilic tendencies.

Sexual Abuse in Churches has always been a touchy subject, but one hopes that endeavours like Paul's will serve their purpose in bringing those wronged by their "protectors" peace, healing and justice.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Abuse in Churches

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...

Monday, January 22, 2007

An article from 1997 on CSA and the law

Ok 1997 was a decade ago, things have changed since then.

Or have they really ??

To Think The Unthinkable
The judiciary, like the rest of society, dangerously downplays the reality of child sexual abuse
Soma Wadhwa

Wives who make allegations of sexual abuse of their children by their husbands suffer from "some peculiar psychiatric condition". The alleged sexual abuse of an "infant child (who would have just passed her suckling stage then)" is a "seemingly incredulous" accusation to make. An allegation of child sexual abuse by a mother will be "concocted to wreak her vengeance" on her husband.

The medical examinations carried out at the behest of a mother which reveal "a wide vaginal opening—wider than would be expected of their age group" will at most support the probability of "what a mother might do with the little female child for creating evidence of sex abuse".

"A father is a father...and even if he is a bad father he still has the right to his children..."

THESE are no old wives’ tales. These are the observations, made by the Supreme Court, on wives, tormented children and allegedly abusive husbands. Uttered as observations in the Satish Mehra versus Delhi administration case filed by the former—challenging his wife’s allegation that he had repeatedly sexually abused their eight-year-old daughter from age three onwards—these words speak of a typical judicial attitude towards cases of child sexual abuse.
"Instead of addressing the legal and social problems related to child sexual abuse, such observations coming from the country’s apex court reaffirm the myths about the heinous crime," says Maya Ganesh of Sakshi, an NGO working with women and children in the area of violence. Verdicts such as these, the agitated activist points out, only add to the outdated beliefs that a mother who accuses her husband of this crime either doesn’t sexually satisfy her husband, wants to take revenge on him, is insane, or doesn’t take care of her children. "It’s quite a task anyway to convince people that bus conductors, drivers and domestic help are not the only ones who abuse children. That this is a crime that has children suffering in many apparently ‘normal’ homes. It would certainly help if the judges didn’t feel the same way too," she says.

Unfortunately, the hope seems misplaced. Even as the National Commission for Women conducts a National Consultation on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Goa this week with ministers and justices as speakers, a survey conducted by Sakshi just last year had 50 per cent of the 109 judges questioned from all over the country saying that child sexual abuse is not a common crime. They felt that the offence exists only amongst "uneducated, depressed and over-sexed people and/or people with a prostrate gland problem". A 48 per cent of the judges felt the perpetrators of such crime were not from within the family, but strangers and domestic help. Comforting beliefs, perhaps, but ones that are easily shattered even with the very meagre documentation done on the subject in the country. Bangalore-based NGO Samvada’s study—titled Preliminary Report of a Workshop Series and Survey on Childhood Sexual Abuse of Girls—carried out with 348 girls from schools and colleges in the city revealed that 83 per cent of the respondents had experienced some form of sexual abuse.

Two-thirds of the victims said their abusers were known to them, the majority of them being male members from the family.

THE case then is hardly overstated when the judiciary and the executive are asked to recognise that child sexual abuse is a grave reality that needs urgent attention. "The entire system—the judiciary included—has to do its bit towards finding a solution. There should be a ruling making sex education mandatory in our schools. A child should be taught to differentiate a good touch from a bad one," observes Sana Das of Samvada.

Till that happens, however, it is left to the judiciary to interpret touches and decide on the nature of offences. Which interpretations, often, are appalling. In the case of the government under-secretary, who was accused of repeated sexual abuse of his daughter, the abuse involved vaginal and anal penetration with a finger and forcing the child to have oral sex. Neither the district court, nor the high court or the Supreme Court was willing to acknowledge any of the penetrations as rape. The district court ruled in the CBI versus K.C. Jhaku case: "The word ‘penetration’ does not connote penetration of any foreign object. There must be penetration of the male organ, and that too in the vagina, otherwise, the act would constitute a carnal intercourse."

"The problem with the existing law on child sexual abuse is that there is no existing law on the subject," says lawyer Niti Dikshit. The absence of a separate law on child abuse means that sexual assault on minors is tried under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which makes the crime punishable for being "voluntary intercourse against the order of nature". Moreover, the minimum sentence for rape is 10 years while the maximum sentence under Section 377 is 10 years.

"What of the minor boy who is being forced into oral sex or the girl child who is being fondled and used as an object to masturbate...we always need a sympathetic judge to interpret the law favourably. We could do with a solid law," argues the lawyer.

THIS vagueness regarding the crime spills into police stations that are sought as the first refuge by harassed victims of the crime. The lack of specialised cells for a crime that needs to be treated sensitively has most such victims coming into the Crime Against Women Cell (CAWC). "We hardly have any investigative powers to deal with this crime. Nor do we have any counsellors to handle the complainants," admits deputy commissioner S.S. Grewal of Delhi’s CAWC.
"We often end up asking harsh questions but then we are not trained in the field."

The absence of trained professionals in the police stations and the courts while these cases are on, insists child psychiatrist Vinay Kshetrapal, can be detrimental to the mental health of the victim who is already traumatised. "Disbelieving questions and harsh attitudes can ruin a child’s confidence when he or she has just about mustered enough courage to speak out the unspeakable," says Kshetrapal. He insists that all such cases abroad are conducted with a counsellor monitoring the mental health of the minor victim.
"Sympathy is an imperative in this case."
So are laws.
As also a healthy judicial attitude.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Healing is necessary, not only for people who have endured abuse, but also for people around them who have borne the brunt of behavioural changes, relationship problems etc. that have resulted from the victim's reaction to trauma.

The reason as to why it is imperative that people address and heal from their childhood experiences of abuse is because even a single act can result in a number of emotional barriers, loss of self-esteem and a number of "hidden" disorders that take shape later in life.

The battle against CSA is often a lonely one, owing to societal walls, ignorance, apathy and the usual bunch of adult idiots who think that not talking about it or blocking it through marriage and education (haha how ironic) will "solve" the problem. However,there are means and ways by which victims of abuse can begin strengthening themselves from within.

  • Reading up on the issue - This is an important step towards acknowledging what happened and also realizing that YOU are not to be blamed for it.

  • Writing about it - Whether in an online journal or on paper, "getting it out" in words in a sense, lightens the emotional burden. Emailing someone helps too, im currently e-counselling 5 people who write in to me about how they're progressing each day.

  • VENT - Scream, Shout, tear paper, listen to angsty music, go out on a long drive, take the weekend off or invest in a punching bag *non-human*. The anger needs to get out, it's done enough damage already. Self-harm is NOT healthy venting.

  • Joining a support group - There is strength in numbers, and just the knowledge that you will be in an understanding environment with people who have been through similar hell, will help the healing process immensely.

  • Speak with a friend - Ok so the family isn't too keen on being there for you and hearing you out. A friend might be a better choice. Look for someone who is unbiast and a good listener, and not one of those horrible opiniated types who will complicate things. Obviously confidentiality will have to be promised before you start talking. It would help if people put themselves through a "dealing with disclosure" workshop.
Elaan is organising a Dealing with Disclosure workshop in the first week of February. Those who are interested in attending/would like their schools and colleges to attend, email.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse: What We Would Like You to Know about Us

1. We grew up feeling very isolated and vulnerable, a feeling that continues into our adult lives.

2. Our early development has been interrupted by abuse, which eitherholds us back or pushes us ahead developmentally.

3. Sexual abuse has influenced all parts of our lives. Not dealing with it is like ignoring an open wound. Our communication style, ourself-confidence, and our trust levels are affected.

4. Putting thoughts and feelings related to our abuse "on the backburner" does not make them go away. The only way out is to go through these emotions and process them.

5. Our interest in sexual activity will usually decline while we are dealing with this early trauma. This is because:- we are working on separating the past from the present.- pleasure and pain can sometimes be experienced simultaneously.- it is important for us to be in control, since control is what we lacked as children.- sometimes we need a lot of space. Pressuring us to have sex will only increase our tension

.6. We often experience physical discomforts, pains, and disorders that are related to our emotions.

7. We often appear to be extremely strong while we are falling apart inside.

8. There is nothing wrong with us as survivors -- something wrong was DONE to us.

9. Sometimes others get impatient with us for not "getting past it"sooner. Remember, we are feeling overwhelmed, and what we need is your patience and support. Right now, it is very important for us to concentrate on the past. We are trying to re organize our whole outlook on the world; this won't happen overnight.

10. Your support is extremely important to us. Remember; we have been trained to hold things in. We have been trained NOT to tell about the abuse. We did not tell sooner for a variety of reasons: we were fearful about how you would react, what might happen, etc. We havebeen threatened verbally and/or non verbally to keep us quiet, and we live with that fear.

11. Feeling sorry for us does not really help because we add your pain to our own.

12. There are many different kinds of people who are offenders. It does not matter that they are charming or attractive or wealthy.Anybody -- from any social class or ethnic background, with any level of education-- may be an offender. Sexual abuse is repetitive, so be aware of offenders with whom you have contact. Do not let them continue the cycle of abuse with the next generation of children.

13. We might not want or be able to talk with you about our therapy.

14. We are afraid we might push you away with all our emotional reactions. You can help by: listening, reassuring us that you are not leaving, not pressuring us, touching (WITH PERMISSION) in a nonsexual way.

15. Our therapy does not break up relationships - it sometimes causesthem to change as we change. Therapy often brings issues to thesurface that were already present.

16. Grieving is a part of our healing process as we say goodbye to parts of ourselves.

From Triumph over Darkness by Wendy Ann Wood, M.A.copyright Wendy Ann Wood 1993
Courtesy the Askios e-group. Thank you !

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Female Perpetrators - Male Victims

Women are as capable of being perpetrators of sexual abuse as men are. An article on Human Rights Violations in Prisons highlights one of possibly many cases of sexual abuse by a woman.

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding CSA is that it "only happens to girls". That is untrue. Boys face sexual abuse at a higher frequency than girls, say statistical reports.

However socialization patterns prevent boys from speaking about their "emotions" for fear of coming across as "unmanly" or "weird" so there is more dialogue on the sexual abuse of females than there is on the sexual abuse of boys. One male survivor of sexual abuse by his female teacher recalls the confusion it resulted in.. "one minute she was reprimanding me for not doing my homework and the next minute she was all over me. the next day when i went to school, she acted like nothing had happened.this happened till i graduated." Another survivor says his aunt was very "hot" and said it was a kick for him to have his first sexual experience with her at age 12, but later felt "sick" about it. he now claims to "hate" women and refuses to trust them.

Rennee Koonin writes brilliantly and honestly about her sexual abuse as a child in this online
article. What wrenched my gut were these lines :

" When I recalled that I was sexually abused by my stepfather as a child, I was devastated, but I was, not surprised. When I remembered that my mother had also abused me sexually, my world fell apart. Nothing I believed, none of my work as a social worker, educator and activist had prepared me for this truth. "

The fact that Men and Women are both not immune to Sexual Abuse, and are also equally capable of being Perpetrators is not hot news straight off the shelf. People are well clued into the fact, especially those who come from joint family backgrounds. A separate essay on joint families and CSA is somewhere on this blog, will post the link when i find it.

Jim Hopper is someone i have worshipped ever since i began working on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse. His essays are thorough and well-researched, in a language that is simple to understand. Here is the Hopper take on what he describes as
"society's betrayal of boys".

In the Indian context, where a lot of children have grown up in joint families, it is unsurprising that 80% of sexual abuse cases fall under Incest

Friday, January 12, 2007

Interactive Session at Jadavpur University

Elaan kicked off the year's activities with an invigorating interactive session with the First and Second Year COMPARATIVE LITERATURE students at Jadavpur University.

Discussions and QnA (thats Question n Answer) topics ranged from the Nithari Tragedy to the Legal scenario (good going Rahul) , to our Penultimate goal (Joanna) , to translating campaign material into vernacular dialects and tackling the districts.
Rohit came up with the concept of using Street Theatre to further the awareness campaign in less-developed regions while Debdutta mentioned "jatra" which i am assuming is on the same lines.

A student who lives in Barrackpore and travels regularly by local train told me that the issue was prevalent where she lived (her para) while the person sitting next to her (didnt get her name :( ) said it would help immensely if we got some material disseminated there. We will.

Raka spearheaded the eve-teasing segment which lightened the atmosphere considerably.

Inam spoke of consistent media (newspapers etc) which was a good idea overall(think : bula di), as long as the journalists in question have the same drive and inclination.

Thank you to all those who took the time to be there.

More on the orkut community in a topic titled "elaan at JU".

Awaiting CV's

The next spate of volunteer interviews is at T3, Park Street, from 3pm. Do email/call if youre interested. Will be working there till 8pm.

Elaan plans on initiating the IPRP and LACSA at Jazzfest 2007. 14th January Sunday at DI (Dalhousie Institute). Those interested in volunteering, you know what to do.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Now that Nithari has succeeded in shocking the nation, stirring the creative juices of media-loving politicians and bringing light to the fact that CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE DOES EXIST, half this youth group's problems are over.

Firstly, a number of ignorant questions will (hopefully) not be extended in our direction such as "accha, this country is mostly Hindu so how can you say that CSA exists?"/ "accha Pranaadhika (for that is my name), this disease (!) exists only in higher stages of society so why plan rural awareness?/" you got abused because you wear western clothes and indian males get 'out of control' with 'western-minded' ladied because it is out of their culture"...

Page 3, the National Award winning film , Monsoon Wedding, Everybody Says Im fine , Pinki Virani's Bitter Chocolate book and now the Nithari tragedy of 2006-7 all serve as public education tools on Child Sexual Abuse.

After Nithari it is interesting to note how perpetually confused the law-making people are looking, especially when it comes to responding to the media. Undoubtedly one of the best articles on Police ignorance of CSA helped pinpoint one of the many reasons as to why a lot of this case is going to be ruined. If the people don't know what signs to look for, how will they come to a reasonable conclusion as to what happened and why it happened ?

Elaan will be holding an interactive session with the first year students of the Jadavpur University this afternoon. For those who have personal queries or wish to send in their CV's, the procedure and requirements are as follows -

1. You need to belong to the institute, in simple English - you need to be a Student or Faculty member.
2. You need to devote 15 hours a week for a single week (that's 3 hours a day) for sensitization lectures and training.
3. You need to report to Elaan on a fortnightly basis.
4. You need to be fluent in the English language.
5. If inducted, you will be required to work exclusively with Elaan in the capacity of a volunteer
for a minimum of 1 year if you desire a letter of recommendation.

CV's to be emailed to

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


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 -

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Goa Child Protection Act, 2003

Goa is a tourist hotspot that is frequented by young and old from all over the world, some of whom visit for the calming "holiday" atmosphere, some for the wild nightlife and woodstock reminincing, and some for more sinister activities..

Post-Father Freddy Peat and other similar cases where locals and tourists were found to be indulging in the sexual abuse of children/child pornography, the Goa Child Protection Act of 2003 made a strong statement in favor of punishing those who traumatized and exploited Goa's youth.

It can be downloaded and perused

Monday, January 8, 2007

CSA cases in India

Child rights activists all over the country were heartened by the news of the conviction of Wilhelm and Loshiar Marty by the Bombay Sessions Court on 29 March 2003, given the difficulties involved in prosecuting sex offenders in general and foreign paedophiles in particular. After the conviction of the notorious Freddy Peats in Goa on March 21 1996 not a single conviction of a foreign paedophile has taken place. This is ironic, considering that there is a great deal awareness about tourism related paedophilia in Goa today and unlike in the past, today the State too acknowledges the existence of this problem. The number of convictions or the lack of it actually defines the extent of the problem.

Today when NGOs lodge complaints with police officers they do not cast aspersions on the credibility of the complainants, as was often the case earlier. There are police officers in Goa who have investigated cases very effectively. The sad reality is that the will to effectively deal with this problem on the part of the State as a whole is still lacking. The police, the prosecutors, the courts, the Home Department and other state agencies involved have to be committed to stopping the menace of paedophilia.

The details of the cases given below illustrate the point:

Freddy Peats
Arrested on 3 April 1991, he was granted bail within 45 days, after which he freely roamed the state of Goa till he was convicted five years later. The Sessions Court expedited the case only after Mumbai-based child rights activist, Sheela Barse, filed a writ petition in the High Court in 1995 praying that the Sessions Court proceed with the trial on a daily basis. This resulted in Freddy Peats being sentenced to life imprisonment on 21 March 1996.

Kenneth John Clark
An 18-year-old boy from Andhra Pradesh filed a First Information Report against Kenneth John Clark, a British national on 9 October 1996, following which he was arrested by the Colva Police Station and charged under sections 372 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The boy alleged that Clark subjected him to anal sex on several occasions. Apparently Clark also allegedly forced this boy to have sex with a 14-year-old boy in his presence. Clark was let off on grounds of insufficient evidence.

Ernie Jean François
In December 1996, Umed, a child rights organisation, received a complaint against Ernie Jean François, a Swiss national aged 52 years, who had brought a nine-year-old girl from Pune, with whom he was residing in Calangute. An informant told Umed that he had been visiting Goa each year since the last three years and that he always brought different children with him. The girl accompanying him at the time had reportedly been with him for almost a year, visiting various parts of India and not going to school. Umed brought this case to the notice of the local police. However, François was allowed to leave the country on 12 March 1997, as the police were apparently unable to find evidence of sexual abuse.

Peculiar features about this case underly the problem faced generally. The police took the girl away from the custody of the suspect only 10 days after Umed filed its complaint. No representative from Umed was allowed to be present for any hearings of the case. The conclusion of the case was communicated to Umed through an official letter from the Home Department of the state government. The letter states that the first medical report ruled out "the possibility of any forceful sexual intercourse" (emphasis added). It goes on to say "in a subsequent medical report the doctor has stated that on interrogation the child admits to having sexual intercourse with more than one person." But apparently, she had not had sexual intercourse with Jean Ernie François. No medical reports were attached to this letter and Umed's written request for the documents met with no response.

Although Umed representatives were not permitted to interview the child, it seems that the chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Mohini Giri met her. On 20 March 1997, The Hindustan Times reported that Ms Giri was 'rattled' by her encounter with this girl. The girl reportedly told her that 'the Swiss uncle would bathe her every morning and at night he showed her blue films and patted her on her face.' He would put her to sleep 'kissing her everywhere'. These sensational revelations did not result in any action on the part of the state, nor was it followed up by any action on the part of the National Commission for Women.

Meanwhile François continues to visit Goa.

Yvonne Rene Wallez
In March 1998, a case was registered by the Calangute police station against a 67-year-old man of Belgian origin, Yvonne Rene Wallez, for sexually abusing a 15-year-old handicapped boy under Sections 373, 377 and 294 of the IPC. However, on 13 May 1998, Wallez was found dead in his room. Jagrut Goenkaranchi Fauz (an organisation concerned with the social impact of tourism) had demanded an inquiry into the death of this man to ascertain whether this man had committed suicide to avoid judicial trial or whether any paedophile associates were involved in his death. However no follow-up was done by the police in this case.

Helmut Brinkmann
In August 1998, some residents of Calangute complained to the police about Helmut Brinkmann, a German aged 53, that he was a paedophile. This was a unique case because the child, a boy around 14-years-old testified against him and forensic examination revealed the presence of sperm in the anus of the child and it was proved that the sperm was of the suspect, Helmut Brinkmann.
Brinkmann was convicted for unnatural sexual offences by the Assistant Sessions Judge, Nutan Sardessai, and awarded rigorous imprisonment for six years. Brinkmann was later acquitted on appeal by the Additional Sessions Judge, D R Kenkre, on seemingly technical grounds.
It is interesting to look at the two judgements, which establishes how the same facts can be given such a diverse interpretation, based on the mind-set of the individual in office. In trial court's judgement three issues were formulated: Firstly, was the boy kidnapped? - In which case the accused would be liable under Section 363 IPC. Secondly, whether there is proof to convict the accused under Section 373 of the IPC; which pertains to buying or hiring a minor with the intent of or knowing it to be likely that such a person shall be used for either prostitution or illicit intercourse or any purpose which is unlawful or immoral. Thirdly, whether the accused committed unnatural sexual offences punishable under Section 377 of the IPC. The court ruled that there was no evidence of kidnapping, but there was evidence to convict the accused under Sections 373 and 377.

In the appeal court's judgement the two points formulated were: Firstly, whether the victim boy is an accomplice in commission of the crime and secondly, whether there is evidence to convict the accused under Sections 373 and 377. But while he has ruled that the victim is an accomplice in commission of the crime, he ruled that 'it is not proved that the guilty was indulging in unnatural offence'.

The judgement contends that to prove that the accused was guilty under Section 373 it was necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused had carnal intercourse with the victim... and that it was against the order of nature. According to him 'the prosecution was required to prove Section 377 to prove Section 373'. A basic contention of the judge appears to be that the prosecution failed to establish that the accused had carnal intercourse with the victim. The judge ruled that the testimony of the child has to be corroborated in 'material particulars' for it to implicate the accused.

First of all, for a child to talk about being sexually exploited is rare, consequently a child's testimony needs to be given serious consideration. Moreover, in the judgement passed by Sardessai J. in February 1999 the trial judge viewed the evidence of spermatozoa in the anus as significant, as it was observed that it was not possible for discharge from the penis to fall on the anus of the same person. Kenkre J., however, has stated that 'discharge from the penis can fall on the anus' of the same person and has raised doubts about the possibility of sperm surviving for more than 48 hours without being 'washed out at the time of taking bath or cleaning the anus after natural course'. Sardessai J.'s contention was that it appears improbable that the sperm in the anus could belong to the same person, because of 'the anatomical position of the anus and the penis' (to quote Judge Sardessai's judgement).

Child rights activists were able to convince the State to appeal to the High Court against the decision of the Additional Sessions Court. But when the case came before the High Court child rights activists were aghast to learn that Brinkmann had left the country. The Public Prosecutor while informing the court that he was 'probably' not in the country, failed to draw the attention of the judges to the fact that the offender in question was a suspected paedophile.

In another travesty of justice the immigration authorities informed the Goa Police after Brinkmann had left the country in spite of a Look Out Circular against him.

Dominique Sabire Sabire was a Frenchman, aged 61 at the time of his arrest in 1999; an associate of Freddy Peats. A holder of two postgraduate degrees and a writer of bestsellers in French, he was caught at Delhi Airport, where he was in transit on his way to Thailand. There were previous references about his visits to Thailand in his letters. He left the country after jumping bail in February 2000, and continues to abscond. Ironically, the Campaign Against Paedophilia had warned the state of this possibility while conducting a campaign on the Brinkmann case.

Sabire was granted bail on 23 June 1999, but was required to report to the CBI office in Panaji every alternate day. He then made a plea that he be allowed to report to the Calangute Police Station as he was residing in Calangute. He was granted permission to do so from 16 February 2000. From 27 February he stopped reporting at the police station. However, Police Inspector Subhash Goltekar, who was in charge of the Calangute Police Station, informed the Public Prosecutor on 29 March, only 31 days after Sabire had stopped reporting to the Calangute Police Station, giving the Frenchman ample time to escape. Following this act of gross negligence on the part of this police officer, letters were written to the Director General Police demanding his suspension. However, to our knowledge, no action has been taken against him to date.
John Colin MiddletonMiddleton, a 71-year-old Britisher, was arrested on 19 March 2001 from a guest house in Benaulim where he was found with three Nepali children; two 13-year-olds and one 15-year-old, who he had brought with him from Nepal. According to Jan Ugahi and Childline, the organisations that had tipped off the police about the case, this man had a previous conviction for sodomy with a child in New Zealand. However, the Interpol has so far failed to respond to the inquiries of the Goa Police in this matter. Middleton was released on bail on 23 March 2001. His passport was later returned to him and he was allowed to leave the country. Unfortunately questions such as how three minor Nepali children were in his custody staying in the same room as him did not receive the attention they deserved.

Alan Dow
In May 2003 the police along with Children's Rights in Goa entered a hotel room in Calangute, and found Alan Dow with a 13-year-old girl, both skimpily clad and sharing the same bed. But as there was no forensic evidence Dow was allowed to leave the country and no case was registered against him.

From the case descriptions given above it is evident that serious attention needs to be given to the question of what needs to be done to protect children and prosecute paedophiles. In order to facilitate the prosecution of paedophiles the following points need to be realised by state authorities:o Investigation of cases of paedophilia should be given as much importance as cases of dacoity/narcotics and the NGOs should not be expected to do all the investigative work. Police should be motivated to investigate such cases by appropriate incentives, such as it reflecting positively in their service records.

Protocols need to be developed to ensure that paedophiles out on bail are prevented from escaping from the country. It should be a matter of procedure that the police communicate with immigration authorities and foreign embassies to alert them to the fact that the suspected offender should not be allowed to leave the country.

Sensitisation programmes have to be carried out among all those dealing with cases of paedophilia - the police, prosecutors and judges.

Existing laws should be used effectively to deal with cases of paedophilia until comprehensive laws are formulated to deal with cases of child sexual abuse.

Credit for this article goes to - Nishtha Desai, who is a child rights activist working with children in Goa.

I applaud her for her research and input but do not necessarily subscribe to all her viewpoints. For instance, the police need abuse specific education and training, incentives shouldn't matter.Secondly, there are NO LAWS against CSA and the Goa Children's Act is a state-specific deterrant which has it's limitations and loopholes as the aforementioned article clearly points out.