The three boys ran into the CSJ office playing, hitting one another and laughing. Sameer, Binay and Bipin* are an energetic, mischievous bunch. They had come to meet our lawyer and social worker before their court testimony to go over what had happened to them.
The three boys were walking home from school when two older boys followed behind them. When the busy road emptied, one of the older boys took out a knife and forced the boys into a nearby jungle where they abused and sodomised them.
When our team first met the boys, they would sit quietly and not talk much. Fear surrounding the incident weighed heavily on them. After the abuse, they had stopped going to school and spent a lot of time at home. They quit riding their bicycles outside and playing cricket with their friends.
A common myth about child sexual abuse is that mostly girls are victims. That’s simply not the case. In fact, boys are just as likely as girls to experience sexual harm. But social pressure keeps them quiet. They pretend nothing happened and hide any fear they might have because boys are supposed to be tough.
Slowly the boy’s laughter returned. After our team had a complete picture of their story, we focused more on what they needed to heal. They started cracking jokes again. Now, when the three boys visit, they burst into the office and interact with our entire team. Of course, the abuse’s impact remains, but they are taking steps forward. All the boys have returned to school and they’re starting to venture outside again.
For the smallest boy Bipin, he has been the most vocal about the abuse. He says speaking about it and expressing his emotions has made him feel better. It helped the fear and heaviness to lighten. Often, just sharing one’s story in a safe, supportive environment helps in the healing process…and helps the laughter return.