It was the year of 1998 and I was busy at home studying for Class 11 final exams. Maths was my weak subject and I was trying hard to mug up all the formulas and equations. My brother was also at home, studying for his degree exams. During lunch time my mom returned from bank where she worked, with an elderly gentleman. She introduced the man as my father’s best friend, he had come from Bangalore to visit us. My dad had expired when I was 4 years old, so I dint recognise the man but he seemed to be friendly. In fact he was over-friendly, he made me sit in his lap and gave me the large pack of biscuits that he had got. All though his behaviour was odd, we let it pass. He said that he wanted to visit some temples in the evening, so he would stay at our place till evening. After some formal pleasantries, my mom went back to her work at the bank. My brother who was sleeping before this man came to our house, stayed in the same room. This man was coaxing my brother to return to sleep. He was a professor and he offered to help me with my Math revision. After some time my brother made his way back to his room, but was surreptitiously keeping an eye on this man. Once my brother was out of sight this man’s behaviour became more indecent, he started pawing me and touching at all the wrong places. I was dumbfounded, confused and scared. But before things could turn worse, my brother came into the room, held the man by his collar and literally dragged him outside the house and kicked him out. He got the biscuits that he had got and threw at his retreating back.
I can call all the bad names that I want for this man but my anger does not subside whenever I think about this incident.
The memories of this incident returned back to me after I saw Amir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate’s episode of child sexual abuse. I know that many of us are divided on this show. Some feel that AK is doing it to build up his own image and some say that his reasons are genuine. But here’s the thing, if by this show even one child can save himself or herself from being abused, even if one parent can awaken and realise what’s happening with their kid and provide support then this show is worth it. Also, the show throws light on some serious loopholes in the Indian judiciary system which provides no law against child sexual abuse, one of the heinous crimes. There are no procedures followed for child sexual abuse victims during medical examination or police investigation. The victims are brought in for medical examination and then they openly proclaim that the child was raped. Some insensitive shit heads. I seriously feel that child abusers should be castrated in public, so that such men will think twice before committing the same crime again.
While it’s true that there is no law against child sexual abuse, as parents it’s our duty to be alert. As is our mentality towards crime, we think that it won’t happen to us. But child abuse is happening and will happen until we realise that it’s our duty to protect our children. Here are few things that I think can help:
Build up an open communication line with children. We as Indians hesitate to talk about sex with our children. But I think it’s important to provide some basic information as per their age. The workshop conducted by AK in his show was superb. It tells how children should become alert when a person touches them inappropriately and what the child should do in such situation. If the child is trying to tell something about a person with whom he or she is not comfortable, then we should take it as a sign of warning instead of just ignoring it.
As parents we have to be alert. As said in the show the perpetuators of child sexual abuse do not look differently, so we cannot identify them from looks. But if a person is over friendly with the kid or is trying to spend too much time with the kid alone, then it’s better to keep an eye on the person. Never leave the kid with people you don’t trust like some far off friend/relative or a stranger or neighbours.
Often children who fall victims to abuse are not able to talk about it with others because the abuser may be a respected elder or a close friend. The child may not even be able to realise what is happening with him or her. But the child may become depressed or withdraw into a shell. So it’s important that we notice such changes in the kid.
You know I was wondering when a women gets raped people (usually a police/law officer) claims that the lady was provocatively dressed or she was out at late night. So what do they have to say about child sexual abuse? Do they still blame the victim even in such cases? I wonder.
We live in such a society that does not spare even innocent kids. Childhood is a precious stage of a person’s life. It’s when we can be free from all tensions and enjoy our life because we are ignorant of all evils in society. But paedophiles snatch away the innocence from child. I shudder to think what would have happened with me that day, if that man had succeeded or my brother was not at home. How badly the psyche of a child is hurt when at a tender age he/she undergoes such traumatic events. We humans are known to be the most intelligent, most powerful creatures on Earth because we can think rationally and act logically. There was a line in the Spiderman movie, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Unfortunately we are not worthy of the power bestowed upon us.