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he relentless and disturbing news stories about rape occurring in places we daily frequent has impacted our nation’s sense of security. We have become fearful for the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. As a mother of a daughter and a son, it’s horrifying to think that our children might not make it home from school or a movie or mall, regardless if the child is a male or female. An Epidemiological Overview of Child Sexual Abuse, a study on child sexual abuse in India, offers following figures on the phenomenon: India is home to 19% of the world’s children. As per the 2001 census, about 440 million Indians were below 18 years of age and constituted 42% of total population. The government estimated that 40% of India’s children are susceptible to threats like homelessness, trafficking, drug abuse, forced labour, and crime. In India, every second child is exposed to some form of sexual abuse, and every fifth child faces critical forms of it. According to another study on child abuse by Ministry of Women and Child Development Government of India in 2007, India is the only nation where the number of boys abused is higher than girls.
If we are concerned about the safety of our own children and family, we should also be concerned about our neighbours.So, what can we do? Do you think the Church can play a useful role in preventing sexual violence? What could your church do? Do we know the laws that protect our children? What should we be cautious about as we respond to the issue of sexual violence? Romans 13:9—“For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Or James 2:8—“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ you are doing well.” If we are concerned about the safety of our own children and family, we should also be concerned about our neighbours. How do we make our community safe? Do we give families of rape victims the same kind of support while they are grieving that we give to families of people who have died in accidents or by illness? The command to love is accompanied by actions we can do to demonstrate love.