Child sexual abuse is a violation of children?s rights to be protected from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse. This is provided for by the Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). The CRC in Article 2, specifies that all children are to enjoy the rights provided in the Convention without discrimination on the grounds of sex among other things.1Similarly, Article 3 of the ACRWC also provides for non-discrimination in the enjoyment of the rights stipulated in the Charter for all children.2 It is the reason why this study focuses on the sexual abuse experiences of the boy child, because for such a long time, focus has been on addressing sexual abuse for girls. On the other hand, the study seeks to balance its interrogation of child sexual abuse by looking at it from two angles. It looks at the experiences of boys as victims of sexual abuse and boys who grow into adult perpetrators of child sexual abuse.
Various studies on child sexual abuse have concluded that boys constitute a very small percentage of child sexual abuse victims. They also claim that men make up the largest number of sexual abusers, while women abusers are close to non-existent. This information comes from years of study, and is mostly based on evidence from reported cases of child sexual abuse. However, this study found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that most cases of boy child sexual abuse go unreported. Similarly, most cases of female child abusers either go unreported or undetected due to gender stereotypes. The research also found that there is a possible link between gender stereotypes and the reason behind men being more responsible for the abuse of children. It explored various gender stereotypes that society has accepted as normal and how they possibly impact the psychological development of young boys, leading to them developing negative sexual attitudes as they grow older.
By analysing gender stereotypes and interrogating their role in the spread of child sexual abuse, the aim is to highlight them as a threat to human rights. Generally, gender stereotypes cultivate the discrimination of individuals who do not conform to the normative standards that society uses as a yardstick to measure one?s ?appropriateness?. The study gives a brief overview of some of the provisions found in international and regional human rights law on gender stereotypes that can be used to address them. This is with a view to not only eradicate child sexual abuse, but to promote non-discrimination and tolerance among human beings.
Mini Dissertation (MPhil)--University of Pretoria, 2017.