Sexual assault against minors: how do we collectively intervene?

The rising number of crimes and rape against minors is fast becoming a disturbing trend in the country. Every week, we are fed with news reports of minors getting raped across the country.

The mysterious cases of the murder of two minor girls, Lango in Paro and Dechencholing in Thimphu, which has remain unsolved till date has also remained as a grim reminder that despite these ghastly incidences taking place every day, our law enforcers are still grappling to come with an answer. And the fact that these perpetrators are roaming free just salts salt to the gaping wound.

Apart from the physical trauma, the mental and psychological effect it has on victims and their families are indescribable, and keeping silent about this glaring social malice which is fast creeping into our communities is no longer the way to go now.       

As cases of sexual violence against children increases, many stakeholders including parents, teachers, the RBP, and women and child organizations are increasingly becoming concerned about this rise – while we grapple to find a viable solution.

In the wake of this malevolence and social and communal shame, we ought to find a solution and we got to find it sooner. We ought to delve into the root of this malice and uproot it become it becomes a major social malady.

While experts in Bhutan, including the UNICEF and NCWC, has attributed the situation to lack of sexual education among the younger population, and are doing their part to bridge this gap, there are other factors that adds to the problem.

The social media is a strong influencer platform that is a major contributor to sexual violence against women and children. With access to uninterrupted online materials, some of which are sexually explicit and violent, has played a huge role in shaping the psyches of our consumers, both young and old.

Educating our children and consumers on these aspects of internet and social media are also important. The government could also play a proactive role by understanding what kinds of online materials are being fed to our kids in our schools and institutions. Here, parents also have an equally crucial role to play.

These apart, the role of alcohol and drugs in the rising crime against women and children have become even more pronounced today. While the government has legalized alcohol to a great extent, checks and deterrents to control it and ensure that minors are not encouraged into picking up these vices are either not in place, or are not implemented effectively.

It’s in our hands to inspire our children and the society at large to tackle this malice collectively. Let us invest more to protect our women and children and build a safer neighborhood for them.