Just last week, there was this incident of child abuse that hogged the headlines in Bangalore. A 4-year-old LKG student was found to be abused for a period of 1 month in her school by one of the male helpers.
The girl’s mother dropped and picked up the child from school. Apparently this person used to apprehend her and take her to the toilet. Later, he would threaten the girl and force her to keep quiet. This went on for a month till she came home crying and complaining of stomach ache. After medical examination, the doctor told the mother that the child was physically molested. I can’t imagine the shock the parent must have faced.
It is easy to read about these things in the newspapers and difficult to find yourself in that situation. Of course, a huge hue and cry ensued and many blamed the school authorities. After all, isn’t the safety of our kids at school their responsibility? It certainly is. And that must be tackled too.
But, I wish to speak about the parent here. Was the child told about good touch bad touch by her parents? I know for a fact that teachers do not talk about these issues with young children. But as parents, we need to speak to our children about this issue urgently. I did it with both my boys. It is a misconception that only girls are abused. I have read numerous incidents of teachers and helpers molesting kids. I have also read that a child most often is frightened into staying quiet but an observant parent will be able to notice changes in the child’s behavior. Some go really quiet; others become wary of touch, and conversations trickle down to the minimum. The child’s body language is calling out for help, but we are not able to heed the signs.
As a parent, I regularly talk to my kids about this issue. Aamir Khan’s show, Satyamev Jayate, shared a great workshop that each of us can initiate with our kids. It is easy enough for very young kids to understand as well. And, then keep talking to your kids every single day. Have conversations. Ask how things went at school. You will find your child confiding in you. Unless we can shed the cobwebs of hesitation from our attitude, we cannot be open with our children. As parents, we cannot protect our child from every eventuality. But we can give them the power of awareness and also the knowledge that no matter what they can come to us, and we will be there for them.
Most importantly, don’t hesitate to speak to your child about sexual abuse and later about sex. We are the best people to give them the right knowledge and to make them feel comfortable about discussing them with us. Good communication can go a long way in keeping your child safe and making him/her turn to you when in trouble.
For that, we need to shed the cobwebs of antiquated thinking from our minds!
Child abuse does not go away, but 90 percent of child abuse is preventable. –Karen Adams
Rachna Parmar is an avid blogger, a passionate cook, fitness enthusiast, loving wife, and mom to two feisty sons and a Labrador! She is also a Freelance Content Writer and an entrepreneur. She co-owns her startup, Tranquil Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Reach her at http://rachnaparmar.com or @rachnaparmar her twitter handle.