Sex­ual abuse: the pain­ful re­al­ity of our con­tem­po­rary So­ci­ety

Business Bhutan - - Editorial - AMRITH BDR SUBBA The writer blogs at am­rith­di­ary.word­

Just as in any other coun­try, sex crimes are not un­com­mon in Bhutan. But the re­cent sto­ries of sex­ual abuse in­volv­ing a health staff and a school­teacher in Thim­phu have shat­tered the en­tire na­tion. On the night of 5th April 2018, a health tech­ni­cian at JDW Na­tional Re­fer­ral Hospi­tal had al­legedly raped a pa­tient’s at­ten­dant af­ter in­ject­ing her with an anes­thetic drug in the pre­text of test­ing her blood for trans­fu­sion. Then within the same week, an­other pain­ful story of how nine young school­girls in a pri­vate school in Thim­phu were sex­u­ally mo­lested by their own vice-prin­ci­pal sur­faced in the me­dia and fur­ther shocked us even be­fore we could re­cover from the trauma and shame caused by the ear­lier in­ci­dent. It is very un­for­tu­nate that the very souls who are eth­i­cally bound to pro­vide pro­tec­tion and care to their clients have them­selves be­come a threat to the so­ci­ety. Although the crime com­mit­ted by one health staff and one teacher should not be used as a yard­stick to mea­sure the pro­fes­sional con­duct of thou­sands of teach­ers and health work­ers in the coun­try, these sto­ries cer­tainly send out a clear mes­sage that our so­ci­ety is not al­ways safe es­pe­cially for women.

Sex of­fences like the re­cent in­ci­dents are a huge dis­grace to the male gen­der. These sto­ries some­times make me feel ashamed to call my­self a man. Women an girls should not be viewed as sex ob­jects. They also have the right to live a life of equal dig­nity and re­spect. It is sad that with pe­dophiles and rapists lurk­ing in the nook and cor­ner of our so­ci­ety, the safety of our moth­ers, sis­ters, wives and daugh­ters is be­com­ing a great con­cern to­day. Some peo­ple have al­ready be­gun to wonder where else they can be safe when they are not safe even in the hospi­tal and the school. Of course, the mad­ness of one or two crazy in­di­vid­u­als does not rep­re­sent the men­tal­ity of the en­tire so­ci­ety as high­lighted ear­lier. It is un­der­stand­able that as hu­man be­ings, we have the ten­dency to make mis­takes and that nobody is per­fect in the world, but crimes of such a grav­ity can­not be com­mit­ted by ac­ci­dent. At the end of the day, the victims should get the jus­tice they de­serve and the guilty should pay the price for his crimes.

In the wake of such a tur­bu­lent mo­ment for Bhutan, the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter, Ly­onpo Norbu Wangchuk has writ­ten an open let­ter to the prin­ci­pals and teach­ers on so­cial me­dia re­mind­ing them of their sa­cred role and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in cre­at­ing a safe and se­cure learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for chil­dren in the schools. “Let us use this in­ci­dent to strengthen our ef­forts, mo­ti­vate our drives and in­spire our dreams to make our schools a safe and happy places for learn­ing for our chil­dren.” the let­ter reads. As the Min­is­ter has ex­pressed, this in­ci­dent has deeply touched all of us as a na­tion and we should def­i­nitely come to­gether to make our so­ci­ety more safe and peace­ful for our women and chil­dren.

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