Curious case of Pascal Mazurier; pedophiles on prowl?

Media is abuzz with sensational charge of rape of his less than four year-old daughter against French diplomat Pascal Mazurier but little attention is being paid to an ugly fact — India is home to around 69 percent of world’s sexually abused children.

This is just not a standalone figure. Around 276 million children — more than total children population of Europe — face the dirty facet of human psychology at a tender which leave a permanent mark for their lifetime.

A 2005 study by the Women and Child Development ministry claimed that 82 percent of the sexual offenders are known to the victim and in most cases the victims consider them their protectors. Research by different police organizations confirms the findings.

What these organizations fail to provide is reason for such high incidence of sexual abuse against children.

To me, the police should be blamed as most victims are not confident that they will act on their complaint, as it did in case of high profile French diplomat Mazurier.

The reason is that most of the victims are from poor socio-economic back-ground with whom the police does not empathize even a bit. In India, the police are the last government organization with whom citizens want to interact.

Families of many child rape victims fear that their harassment will increase if the sexual crime is reported to police. “It is better to forget,” was a claim of a father, whose six year-old daughter was sexually abused in his own house. “Ladki ki badnami hoogi aur pata nahin police kuch karagi ya nahin (Girl will earn disrespect and I don’t know whether police will act or not).”

Fortunately, a NGO volunteer convinced the man to lodge a complaint. Initially, the police discouraged him telling him how his girl will suffer in court proceedings. When the NGO intervened, they registered a case and arrested the accused.

Many victims are not so fortunate in India. Even after disclosing their agony to parents, they are forced to keep mum and bear the trauma. And, research has shown that many victims of sexual abuse at tender age turn into assaulters when they grow up.

Even in cases, where the police finally register the case, conviction is less than 50 percent. When the court proceedings are on, getting a bail for child sexual offenders is not difficult. Several times India law enforced have received a hard slap on their face with foreign pedophiles able to leave the country after getting bail.

Such a lax enforcement of rule and insensitive police makes India a favoured destination for pedophiles. There have been documentation of children being found in improper position with foreigners in Goa but no action has been taken (Srinivasan, Sandhya 2006, ‘Rights: India Off Paedophile Destinations).

Pascal Mazurier had married an Indian woman and had three children with her. His Malayalee wife Suja Jones Mazurier has now lodged a complaint against him of rape of their daughter and the matter is being investigated.

I don’t want to arrive at any conclusion before the investigations are complete and there seems to be more than what meets the eye in this case. There is something intriguing about this Mazurier case. We have heard story of his wife and not his. I can’t say by when we would be able to hear his story as well and police comes out with a final verdict.

In all this, my heart bleeds for Mazurier’s three and half-year-old daughter and many other such children in India, who undergo the trauma. In this, I can only say, May God help them.

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