the evil: dealing with a disease
is not a problem unique to goa. neither is it an exclusively male domain.
There is an urgent need for a national plan to deal with the problem, say
Dr Nishtha Desai and Fiona Dias-Saxena
A tourist in Goa enjoys
a sense of anonymity and freedom. A paedophile can come, hang around with
children on the beach and not be questions. For him, the setting is just
At any given time, during the six-month tourist season (October to March),
there could easily be around 100 paedophiles operating in the state. No,
do not underestimate the figure, for a paedophile generally exploits more
than one child, at times up to 20 children, during a stay of 15 days to
The Goan community tends
to view the problem as one not affecting Goans – an outsider’s
problem – ‘so why should we be concerned?’ They believe
that only children of migrants are abused by paedophiles. It is true that
a majority of the children paedophiles prey on come from Karnataka, Rajasthan
But, it is a myth that Goan children are not sexually abused by paedophiles.
In the case of Freddy Peats, Goa’s most notorious paedophile, all
the children staying at Peats’ gurukul were Goans. In our day-to-day
campaign work, we have come across some cases involving Goan children.
The stakes are high. So much so, that in some cases parents traffic their
own children. For an entire year’s rent, paid in advance by a foreigner
paedophile, the parents may allow their 13-year-old daughter to ‘go
out’ with the family’s benefactor. But, there are also parents
who have no idea about the involvement of their offspring with paedophiles.
There is a popular
perception that paedophilia is exclusively a male domain. While few in number,
there are female paedophiles as well. In one particular case, a European
woman wanted to ‘adopt’ a 12-year-old boy and take him abroad.
The woman’s feelings did not seem maternal. In fact, her behaviour
towards other young boys also suggested that she was sexually interested
It is difficult to convince policemen, officials or judges that these elderly,
avuncular men/women take pleasure in sexually abusing young boys/girls.
Often, our activists are accused of being ‘pervert’ for suggesting
that a man/woman could want to have sex with a child.
Investigation techniques are often clumsy and the culprits are alerted long
before any evidence is gathered. The investigation techniques need to be
improved if paedophiles are to be successfully prosecuted. This, in part,
explains why apart from Peats only one other paedophile — Eoghan McBride,
an associate of Peats — has so far been convicted.
One judge, in his order, acquitted a paedophile on the ground that the spermatozoa
found in the victim’s anus could be the victim’s own, and the
spermatozoa in the suspected paedophile’s anus could be his own. A
biological wonder indeed!
August 21, 2004
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