It’s always been there. Some speak about it. Some do not. Most often, we do not. It gives us that unsettling feeling. A feeling of oh-i-wish-i-did-not-have-to-talk-about-it.
We’ve skirted it way beyond we should have. We have saved our society from the blames it deserves. We kept thinking this will never come back to haunt us. But its ugly face appears every now and then. The monster is here to stay. With its long hands that enter people’s lives. And scars it for a moment. For a while. Sometimes, I hate to accept this, but for a lifetime.
It was a Tuesday. Another normal working day and I ,was as usual, multitasking. Juggling between my two full-time jobs; as an employee and as a mother. And then, I saw a post on Facebook. I read it and moved on. And then I read another one. And then, a new one with more details. And the details only got gruesome. It was spine-chilling! That this monster had, this time, entered a school and scarred a 6-year-old.
Since then, a lot has been spoken. Various reactions all over the place. Parents are angry first, aghast then and then worried. And rightly, so. I am a mother of a four-year-old. I felt the exact same emotions! The school-system as an entity was being questioned. One of society’s most respected roles; that of teachers, has been put to shame.
In midst of all this, I am thinking. Is anyone else thinking? About this monster? We all have heard this term, at least once. Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). We seem to be questioning the environment in which this monster acts. And we are trying to gear up as much as we can to avoid it. But then, let’s think about it. CSA does not happen in public. The perpetuator does not walk and talk like an abuser in the society. There are no symptoms of this perpetuator when you see him/her. Then, how do we avoid this monster? This monster lives in the heads of the people. It is sleeping within him/her always. And we never get to see them.
Yes, the easiest and most natural reaction is to blame. Blame the people around. Blame the institution where the monster showed up. But, can we really destroy the monster? Think about it. CSA exists everywhere. Whether you accept it or not, is a completely different thing. CSA might even find its residence within the four walls of the place you call home. Yes, you’d hate me for saying this. But that doesn’t lead to the extinction of this monster.
Researches have proved that one in every two children is sexually abused in our country. Yes, it’s time to go ‘Whoa!’. And mind you, this is irrespective of the social strata where the child dwells in. Irrespective of the gender.
I have long back come to terms with the fact that I might not be able kill this monster. Because this monster is non-tangible. We can only touch, feel and get hold of its arms. But remember, this is a monster with a zillion arms! And so, I have opted another approach to dealing with this monster. A scary and troublesome one. In which, I have imparted the wisdom and power to my daughter to recognize the feeling one gets with this monster around. I know, she is small. Miniscule in front of the monster, but she is the owner of her life.
I tell her time and again, she does not have to allow anyone to touch her if she feels uncomfortable. Particularly, some body parts. I identified her chest, susu place and potty place and told her no one… I mean, no one can touch you there. Not mamma, not papa, no one, without your permission. And that if any one touches your body and you do not like it, scream. Scream as loud as you can. And to my delight, she does this very well that it scares off any random person trying to kuchikoo with my little one. I know she might be too small to avoid a powerful clutch of this monster’s arm, but she can try.
Let us give our children the power to recognize and react to this monster. And that begins with trust. Think about it and we will realize that we cannot monitor our children 24/7. Yes, as much as you would like to; I want to too. But can we do this? At school? At home? At tuition classes? At after-school classes? At the swimming pool? At a friend’s home? At the super market? In the school bus? In the public bus? This list could go on. So, I’ll stop here.
I agree the perpetuators must be taken to task. They must be so severely social-shamed that they would cease to exist in their own eyes. I want the cries and silent screams of the children they inflict to haunt them forever. I want them to be scarred until death. I want them to feel hatred and disgust in the air around them. I want their chests to feel so heavy that they cannot take a breath with ease.
But I also want my daughter to be able to help herself, if she can. I want her to react and refuse and attract public attention the moment she feels this monster’s presence. And trust me when I say ‘feel’. Our little angels have the power to feel, just like you and me. When they feel something is wrong, trust them. Believe them. That’s the only way they will talk to you. And do this always. If our child does not come and talk to us about a monster lurking in their life, that’s our mistake and not the monster’s. Let’s accept it.
I hate this monster with my whole soul. With every cell in my body. But I love my daughter a lot more than I could explain. So, I’ll empower her. Will you do too?
A four-year-old mother. Been around for 3-plus decades. Learning new lessons and unlearning a few old ones. I try and find happiness in small things. I dream. I laugh. I cry. I hear. And I try and do. Life is all about love, laughter and light for me.