I. Child sexual abuse can be defined as


“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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Situation of child sexual abuse

2.1.1.  What is child sexual abuse?

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.

Situation in Viet Nam

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.

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.

Culprits of child sexual abuse

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

2.2.1.      Parents

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.

2.3 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

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




2.4.1.      Government,
local authorities and communities

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

example, with a chi

2.4.2.      Individuals
and parents.

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.