Break the silence!
“I didn’t think he’d ever do something like this. He was my father’s friend. I tried running away but he held me and took me to his house. He said that if I told anyone, he’d kill me.” Female,19
“Now, I’m no longer that fearful 12-year-old boy who was ashamed of the fact that his coach raped him. I educated myself on the importance of mutual consent. My healing process though late happened eventually. I wish as a child, I knew about sexual abuse and measures to be safe from it.” Male, 25
“She took to alcohol, and everything went downhill. My little brother and I were left unfed for as long as a week, she would beat us recklessly when she was intoxicated and would come as close to stabbing me if I tried to stop her from drinking. I discontinued school soon after my father left because my mother refused to send me,” Female,10
These are the words of children and young people who survived violence and are still recovering.
Violence against children occurs every day, everywhere. An estimated one billion children – half of all the children in the world – experience some form of violence every year.
And violence against children and young people is as much a national issue.
The National Survey on Violence Against Children and Young People, 2016 found that 6 out of 10 children had experienced some form of physical violence; and more than 1 out of 10 children had experienced sexual violence at least once in their life time. Exposure to digital pornography is on the rise specifically among boys. According to the National Child Online Safety and Protection study 2019, 57 per cent of girls out of 2,381 students aged 12-17 met strangers online and established contact. 38 per cent of students mentioned they have no restriction on digital/use of internet at home.
For many children in Bhutan and around the world, the violence they face prevents them from fully benefiting from their education and realizing their potential.
To address the barriers preventing children and young people from availing protection services and raise awareness on the prevalence of violence against children, a multi-sectoral campaign to end violence against children was launched on July 14.
Led by the National Commission for Women and Children with support from UNICEF, the End Violence Against Children in Bhutan Campaign has brought together a consortium of partners across sectors, making it one of the biggest collaborations to date to address the burden of violence against children.
It will focus on sexual, online and physical violence including among peers and specifically target the three Dzongkhags and Thromdes (districts and municipalities) of Thimphu, Trashigang and Samtse. The pilot districts were chosen based on the demography of children and young people, prevalence of reported cases of violence against children and regional representation.
The partner agencies engaged in the Campaign are:
If you, or someone you know, has experienced violence, seek support:
Woman and Child Helpline: 1098
Royal Bhutan Police: 113
Nazhoen Lamtoen: 1257