Sunday, August 20, 2006

Child abuse

Chubby cheeks, dimple chin, rosy lips-
Dent within.
Curly hair, very fair,
But in despair:
Eyes are blue- lovely two,
Who’s there to woo
The adorable two.

I like to share something that shocked the very core of my existence. It was like any other day when I went to drop my daughter to school. I saw a group of my friends standing in cluster and discussing animatedly. What I heard unnerved me and made me seethe in rage. A lady in the group was narrating a horrendous scene she witnessed on her way home. She saw a child being molested by the driver of her car pool at the back of the maruti van. The child, who has just started school, who is still unfamiliar with her body, was being kissed and fondled by a crude man who had been, ironically, entrusted with her security by her parents.

What is really scary is that people who sexually abuse children don’t look or act very different from most people and are not psychopaths. They are often revered upon by society and, sometimes, are very successful professional.

Contrary to popular belief, the fact is that in most cases of child sexual abuse, the child knows the abuser. Infact, we can say that child sexual abuse is most frequent within the acquaintance/family circle of the child.

I can empathize with that child who has gone through this kind of ordeal of humiliation and that is why my blood boiled over in rage at such gross violation of human rights. I blurted out to the speaker in the group, who clucking like ducklings, with hands folded, airing their sympathy-“why didn’t you stop and save her?”

“ Oh she is not my daughter… what if the driver humiliated me…?” I was aghast at this insensitive reply. I decided to be proactive and do something. But how? Not everybody is lucky like my daughter, who has her grandfather and me, to ferry her. I also told a Principal to discuss this issue at the Principal’s forum.

I don’t know if this matter was taken up or not at the forum but in this forum I have brought up this serious topic to draw people’s empathy.

Children are scared to tell anyone that they have been abused. Life becomes bewildering as they try to cope with the hurt and fear. Often they cannot fathom the enormity of this experience. Most often adults don’t understand what children are trying to tell them or hush up the matter for fear of being ridiculed. This would create emotional blockage and she would learn to hide all feelings of pain, hurt and fear, which would impair her for life.

The effects of child sexual abuse are long lasting and may leave deep scars on the child’s personality and we must become sensitive humans and not ignore the child on the pretext that “she is not mine”


NB said...

Very poignant piece u wrote! Having worked with sexually abused kids and young people, I can empathise with your angst.

One way of responding to the situation could have been going to the school authorities and reporting the case. This could have been followed by a very strong letter to the editor of a well read paper....

My experience of having worked on issues related to sexuality, abuse, violence, is that these are so much shrouded in silence, shame and stigma that people don not talk about is never discussed over pizza and beer; it is never discussed in ladies meetings....never even discussed in EVS or social science or whatever classes in schools. And the ONE BEST way to deal with this scrouge is to SPEAK about it, to report, to protest, to shame the perpetrators, and empower the victims and survivors.

Anonymous said...

You know, most of the educated mass are so concerned about protecting their social standings that they forget the fact that they are dealing with kids.

In fact it hard for many to stomach the fact that their so called 'well wishers' could harm their child.This disbelief furthwer alienates the child who suffers from multiple psychological scars;which may take years to heal.

Sharat Chandran said...

.......the anger simmering on your site at the atrocities around is very contagious.....

it's raw's blunt
I'm impressed ....

Sharat Chandran

NB said...

getting angry on these issues is ok. I believe that the anger should be and MUST be channelised into proactive action. Or else these issues become sensational stuff to be discussed in peer groups. All of us CAN, MUST, HAVE TO, OUGHT TO do out part to eradicate this scrouge.


Talk about it, do a lot of halla and a lot more halla. Such people should be publicly shamed, their actions reported and enough pressure generated to see that the reported case ses the light of day.