Sexual violence against women and girls is quite visible. However, boys are also victims of pedophilia.
But they continue to not be seen as victims, and their abuse is too often invisible.
And awareness and proper education are the keys to protect women, girls, and boys from sexual abuse.
Speakers said this on Monday at the non-profit organization ACTIONISTS organized webinar "Dialogue For Action: Sexuality Education for Children and Adolescents, the Role of Parents."
Director of Dhaka University's Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies Professor Mahabuba Nasrin, Clinical Psychologist Sirajum Monira of Rangpur Medical College, and Supreme Courtlawyer Barrister Syeda Seema Karimattended the webinar.
To break the culture of silence, teachers and parents need to be made aware of the abuses of boys and girls. The issue needs to be included in the textbook, too, Professor Nasrin said. "We need to be vigilant in ensuring the safety of all children."
While talking about behavioral effects of sexual abuse or harassment on children in the short or long term, clinical psychologist Sirajum Monira said children cannot easily express that they are not feeling well. "But they show their discomfort through anger or violence."
Sometimes, they withdraw from everything, and their academic performance is affected. In many cases, children hurt themselves by making cuts or scratches on their skin with sharp objects or taking sleeping pills, Monira said.
"So, the teachers and parents need to spot this behavioral change and discuss it openly."
While talking about pedophilia and the legal implications of sexual harassment of children, Barrister Seema said, "It is not possible to stop rape or crime by law alone. The legal process is the next most significant after a crime has been committed."
"Proper enforcement of the law and exemplary punishment of the criminals is a must. But we need to be vigilant to prevent the erosion of social and moral values."