Children are one of the top groups that are exploited and oppressed in the unfair world we live in. Children are not only objects that require protection but also subjects who have rights. This is also confirmed by the United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights which is a part of our domestic law with the law no. 6/1996. The rights to life, well being, health, bodily integrity and privacy are among these rights.
Sexual abuse of children is a form of violence and crime which violates the abovementioned rights; and it is not the same as paedophilia. Paedophilia is a mental disorder; and this terminology and diagnosis should only be used by professionals. Using the term “paedophilia” in violence towards children cases may indicate the perpetrator has a “disease” and may be used as an excuse for the violent act. Sexual abuse are acts in which adults, use force, threats, intimidation, deception or persuasion to attempt and take sexual pleasure from sexual intimacy with children. This is not limited to paedophile individuals and may be executed by individuals from various segments of a society.
Unfortunately, children from all genders may experience any kind of violence. Both young girls and young boys may be subjected to abuse. The gender of the abused child does not determine the severity of the incident. In cases which the offender abuses a child of the same sex, the focus is turned to the perpetrator’s sexual orientation rather than the act which has taken place; this leads to an inaccurate assumption that homosexuality is associated with child abuse.
As the socio-cultural level or economic status of the offender is not a reason for sexual abuse, the sexual orientation or gender identity of the offender or the victim cannot be used as an excuse for the violent act.
As Queer Cyprus Association, we believe that one of the most significant reasons that child abuse is experienced and cannot be prevented is the deficiencies in the education sector. We would like to emphasize the necessity of working on raising both children and parents awareness on acts which are and aren’t considered as sexual abuse. Educators must also be informed about how to help children who are victims or potential victims of sexual or other forms of abuse.
Additionally, we believe that it is important to prevent poverty, marginalization and children from feeling the need to work for pay. A child who feels the need to work for pay would be in a position more vulnerable to abuse.
Queer Cyprus Association Administrative Board