There is growing focus on child sexual exploitation and abuse globally.
However this has mainly focused on older males abusing girls and women, as highlighted in Save the Children’s report, No One to Turn To and celebrity activism that included Angelina Jolie’s End Sexual Violence in Conflict.
There appears to be a limited focus on peer to peer and same sex sexual violence against boys.
The UNCRC (1989) article 3 “best interest of the child” and article 34 “protect the child from sexual abuse” acts as principles for facilitating interventions. However it can also put the child at further risk if wrongly applied. For example, same sex relations and abuse is illegal in many countries and can put the survivor of sexual abuse at further risk.
Whereas the “do no harm” principle clearly forces you to reconsider your interventions, these approaches create a dichotomy in protection. It is extremely difficult to find organisations that address sexual abuse against boys in developing contexts.
There is a need for more collaboration between protection centric organisations, and how data is collected and shared, to start understanding the scale of the issue.
There needs to be a shift in guidance, theory and language, ensuring it is inclusive of age, disability and gender. Finally, there needs to be more programmatic focus on healthy relationships.
Rabia Gungor is a Child Protection, Safeguarding and Participation Manager at ChildHope. In addition to a Master of Science in Childhood, Youth and Internationals Development Studies, Rabia has over 12 years of experience of working with ‘at risk’ and marginalized children and young people in the UK, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
She has participated in various sexual violence conferences, including the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit.
Proteknôn is derived from two Greek words: "in front of" and "child". As our name implies, we are senior child protection researchers and practitioners, focused on what children are facing, especially as it relates to their care, protection and wellbeing. In order to do this, we are committed to learning from and with girls and boys, of all ages, backgrounds and capacities.
For more information: www.proteknon.org