I. problems, children abuse has been appealing global


“There can be no
keener revealation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its
children”. (Nelson Mandela).We ca judge a country by how it treats its
children. It is supposed that every child on earth deserves to live a cheerful
life with the affection from parents, nobody can harm them. In recent years, however,
apart from some crime-related problems, children abuse has been appealing global
special attention. Viet Nam is one of the nations that has recorded the most
enormous percentage of children/ teenagers undergoing sexual abuse. According
to some prestigious newspapers such as Thanh Nien News, VoV, etc., the number
of child sexual abuse cases is increasing constantly. More specifically,
according to an article in Vietnamnews, there were more than 4,100 cases of
sexual violence against children reported, with girls comprising of more than
80 per cent of 4,140 child victims from 2014 to 2016 (Vietnamnews, 31/7/2017).
Regardless of many measures taken and rigorous legislations enacted by
government and local authorities, the figure keeps up rising significantly. It
respresents for the alarming status of this phenomenon. Thus, this paper, based
on secondary data, with an aim to extend awareness of child sexual abuse, will
discuss the culprits, impacts of this phenomenon on children and suggest some immediate
measures to put this kind of harassment to an end.

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2.1. Situation of child sexual abuse

2.1.1.  What is child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse can be defined as a
form of abuse that involves sexual activity with a minor.????? It denotes as an action to
gratify or satisfy the needs of the other person. The perpetrator executes by
manipulating the child’s trust, luring them by many tricks, for example,  trying to be close to children, then saying to
them that not only is this activity ordinary and smooth, it will comfort, lift
them to the heaven and eliminate stressful sensation coming from studying at
school. School age children and teenagers, therefore, are predominant victims
because abusers know that children at these ages are wholly innocent and cannot
be aware of what perpetrators do, so they cannot report to their family and
local authority.

2.1.2. Situation in Viet Nam

In Viet
Nam, child sexual abuse is becoming increasingly prevailent. According to
the latest statistics of the General department, more than 4,100 children were
sexually abused nationwide, with 80 % of victims being females. There were 278
children who were aged 6, 1,333 ranging from 6 to 12, and around 2,500 were
teenagers amid the sufferers in 2014-2016 period (the Sundaily.my-28/7/2017). In
the first half of 2017, a total of 696 cases of sexual violence against
children were reported, with 710 victims. However, these are not totally
accurate figures, just estimated. They are just only the tip of the ice berg.
The reality may be as much as several times. This may seem to keep increasing
down the line.

People always think that only strangers
are abusers . It is such an one-sided vision. Nowadays, perpetrators are
possibly the accquaintances, relatives or family-members. According to an
online survey, 73% of offenders were accquaintances, with 10% being fathers and
step-fathers of victims (Vietnamlawmagazine.vn). These kinds of molester aim at
innocent children because they understand that children will not be wary of
people they have already known. More specifically, at the beginning of 2017, an
school-age female child living in Hoang Mai district, HaNoi, was disclosed to
be maltreated sexually regularly by a middle-aged named Cao Manh Hung. Another
case happened in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the offender is an 77 years-old elderly and a
girl aged 14 is victim. When taken to court, he completely negated what he did
to this girl and announced that he would sue all of the people who put blame on
him. It was a stigma for this man. The above are some representative cases
exemplifying for an alarming rise in child sexual abuse across the country.

2.2. Culprits of child sexual abuse

There were numerous reasons attributing to
the rising of child sexual abuse cases: lack of parental supervision and sex-education.

2.2.1.      Parents

The initial responsibility belongs to
parents. Dizzying pace of contemporary life has stolen a variety of Vietnamese
parents of time with their families. They are up to their ears in work,
deadlines, to-do lists etc. They always keep up trying with an aim to bring
their children the most prosperous life. They seldom make room for their
leisure time to relish with their kids. Because of not receiving enough
attention from parents, children are prone to suffer this kind of harassment.
With the booming of technologies such as Internet and social network, children who
sometimes use these kind of communication to chat and make online friends are
targeted by sexual abuse molesters. However, parents did not acknowledge this potential
risk. They put a firm belief on their kids that they are dilligent enough to
cope with any spontaneous incidents. When they realized, they felt guilty of
their neglect, but it was too late. A 10 years old girl named Le Thi Nhat Linh
has emigrated to Japan for 5 years, living with her parents and
younger-brother, being a victim of child sexual abuse occuring at the beginning
of 2017. Linh was raped, assaulted and murdered by a 40 year old man nearby her
apartment when she was on her way to school. The teacher informed Linh did not
show up at school, so her missing was reported to police by her dad. At the
time of her disappearance, her father was busy at work and her mother with younger
brother flew back to Viet Nam for personal work. A couple of days after missing
news, her naked-body was found on the grass nearby a drainage-ditch. This was
the valuable lesson for parents who are always absorbed in working, taking less
care of their children.

Lack of sex-education and slacken legislations.

Children have not got
sufficient information about gender and sex education. This shortcoming is
considered to be a root of higher number of child sexual abuse cases. Parents
are too busy with their work; as a result, they leave this kind of education
for school to deal with or they may feel embarrassed when mentioning this
aspect. School are supposed to be a main channel to disseminate children about
sex and gender. Nonetheless, schools have not made full use of school time to
discuss this side. School are still focusing on studying normal lessons,
disregard some social skills and issues. It is inevitable that Vietnamese
teachers usually feel shy when talking about this phenomenon, because they have
never been trained to teach this field before. Consequently, children are not
aware of how to defend and protect themselves when being offended sexually.

Lax laws also contribute
to child sexual abuse. In Viet Nam, when there is a victim involving child
sexual abuse, before condemning abuser, legal process requires physical traces
on a victim’s body.  In reality, it is
impossible to acquire evidence on the victim’s body as required, especially
when the culprit used hands or mouth to abuse a child. As a result, there is
not enough evidence to prosecute and perpetrators have not been punished
rigorously. In other countries, those who perpetrate sexually, unintentionally
or deliberately, might be arrested immediately without any checking process on
victim’s body . A Viet Nam comedian was detained in the US on charges of child
sexual abuse after victim’s announcement. It creates loopholes and facilitate
abusers to achieve their goal.

Impacts of child sexual abuse on children

2.3.1.  Mental health

Children can undergo some
consequences related to mental health after being harassed sexually. Firstly,
they may suffer from some long-term psychological traumas. When being attacked
sexually, the usual indicator in children is fear because they have never got
involved in this situation before. Moreover, some victims decide not to inform
with their parents about molesters for fear of being a shame of their family.
They have to put up in silence by themshelves. If it is long-lasting, it will
provoke depression and self-inferiority. Furthermore, children may find their
incidents humiliating, embarrassing, so it is possible for them to feel
depressed. More miserably, people think that sexual abuse is so disgraceful and
unacceptable, children may be scorned and therefore receive withdrawal from
communities, which makes them desolate from the surroundings. When being
overwhelmed by sufferings, everything is at the end of the rope, children may
resort to commit suicide, as a last choice. Besides, after being harassed
sexually, some cases may involve in some illusion phenomenons. They always have
nightmares in their sleep and scream out unconsciously. They may be obsessed
with what happened to them, and this situation may be long-lasting. According
to Zing online newspaper, a young mother told psychological doctor in Children’s
hospital HCM that her little kid aged 5 years old had been bad-tempered
recently and mother had found out some weird actions of her daughter like putting
her pillows adjascent to private body. Doctor concluded that those can be some
signals of daunting resulting from child sexual abuse

2.3.2.      Physical

From a healthy child, mentally and
physically, after being harassed sexually, he/she is sustaining both mental and
physical injuries. With regard to physical wounds, children are found to have genital
injuries and torn hymen. These sufferings may be associated with few serious diseases
that will leave long-term impacts on victims. Additionally, when children are
compulsive sexually, it can unprotected by any safe measures; therefore, if
perpetrators are positive to some contagious illnesses, like HIV, children will
be subject to infect with them. Furthermore, some girls at school age are
likely to become pregnants unexpectedly. This is genuinely dangerous for female
children becoming soon-mother at this age because some body parts are being
underdeveloped, so both young mother and her baby can be weakened and meet
health-related diseases so far. If any private parts of children have been inflamed
for a long time since being raped, it will increase the high risk of being
sterile for girls (that means they are not be able to have a baby) and
influence on their future marriage directly. Another case in Ho Chi Minh city
represents for the consequence on physical health. A school age boy was taken
to hospital in a high-fever status, and doctor diagnosed that he was infected
with HIV



2.4. Measures

2.4.1.      Government,
local authorities and communities

In recent years, this kind of harassment
has been increasingly complex in Viet Nam. In order to impede it, it is urgent
for the government to take the primary responsibility. Government had better
bring in more strict regulations and law to stipulate this phenomenon, children’s
right and duties, principles and measures to ensure the enforcement of
children’s right, the responsibilities of State agencies, organizations to
exercise children’s rights and duties. Moreover, local authorities and
commnunities keep important roles. Regarding local authorities, they should
reinforce the proganda aiming at increasing knowledge of child protection
issues. Communities should not keep silent anymore and stop putting any
prejudice on victims. Instead, communities ought to join hand, help victims
intergrate into society back to regain pace of daily lives.

For example, with a chi

2.4.2.      Individuals
and parents.

It is suggested that school children
should be equipped with adequate information about how to protect themshelves.
Regarding victims, they should not keep silent anymore, because offenders
cannot be punished appropriately and they may defy laws and repeat this
activity when they get out of jail. In terms of parents role, it is absolutely
vital.  Both mother and father ought to
take an active role in educating children about the risk of child sexual abuse,
especially sexual harassment. Moreover, they should tell their children not to
make acquaintance with strangers without their knowledge or presence. It is
advisable for parents that they should be friend with their kids, which makes
children more open-minded and comfortable to confide their feelings, emotions,
experiences to their parents, instead of avoiding it.