Sunday, May 13, 2012

Satyameva Jayate (Episode 2)

Episode II (Sexual Abuse in Children)

The episode began with some gruesome statistics. 53% i.e. 1 in every 2 kids in India have suffered from sexual abuse. 21% of these were classified as ‘serious’ cases (which include rape, touching private parts, etc) & 32% were classified as ‘less serious’ (which include kissing, making vulgar remarks, etc). Also, 53% children who suffered from child abuse were males. When the audience was asked, ‘Where is the child most safe?’, all of them answered, ‘at home’. However the case studies that were discussed revealed a very different truth.
Case Studies:

Anamika Sharma was abused for 7 years by her own teacher. The teacher used to come to her home, close the door & abuse her. He had won the trust of her family members & was friendly with them. There were 22 people living in the house, but unfortunately none observant enough to know the trauma their child was going through.

Cinderella Prakash, a Mumbai based girl was abused by her parents friend when she was 11. The abuser was 55. A take home message from her for all those who have suffered this trauma: It should haunt him, not me! This correct identification of who was the victim is worth an applause!

Harish Iyer, from Mumbai was raped when he was 6.5 years old. This continued for the next 11 years. Later on the man used to bring his friends along with him to rape Harish. He silently went through this trauma. When he complained to his mother about this, she did not believe him. When he turned 18, for the first time he stood up for himself & said a firm NO & only then did this end.

Nazneen Tonse from Bengaluru turned to alcohol & drugs for comfort. She is living off anti – depressants. A classic example of the after – effects of child abuse

Ganesh Nallari, another victim has not been able to get into any relationship because of the constant fear of more 

Expert Opinions:

Anuja Gupta, runs an institution in Delhi which helps deal people with sexual abuse. She said the most important thing which held back children from confiding in their parents is the fear that they won’t be believed. Children use silence as a method of self – preservation. She had a case where a 2 year old girl was abused by her dadaji (paternal grandpa). She had advised the mother to call a family conference to expose the old man & let him know that this had to stop! She explained that most people thought more of society than of their child & hence kept quiet

Dr. Rajat Mitra, a Clinical Psychologist has been working with the Delhi Police to help them understand the mentality of an abuser. When asked what did his studies reveal about the psychology of an abuser he replied,
An abuser feels no guilt. He feels the child is enjoying it as much as he himself. Most such people were often individuals who were social & could charm people very easily. The people around them often believed them to be very good & decent individuals. He said a few indicators that a person may have such abusive tendencies are:
·       Loves children a little too much
·       Spends too much of time with kids
The best line Dr. Mitra said, which I personally loved was, ‘Respect behavior of a person & not his age!’

1098 is the number of a helpline which deals with various issues of children. It operates in over 200 cities in India & would soon be covering 630 Zillas. It is the largest such institute in the world & attends nearly 25 lac calls / year.

 Nishit Kumar who runs 1098 discussed that there was no law against child sexual abuse. A bil is pending in the parliament awaiting approval.
Towards the end of the show a workshop was conducted which was organized by Dr. Bhushan Shukla from Pune. In the workshop a group of kids, with the youngest being 5.5 yrs old & the oldest being 10, were explained the need to ‘scream’ if they felt something wrong was going on with them. Also with the help of charts they were told that certain areas of their body (the chest, between the legs & the backside) were private parts. Nobody should be allowed to touch them there.

1.     Another strong topic which needs to be seriously addressed in India
2.     For the first time the need to educate children against such things was shown on Indian TV
3.     A mixed balance of case studies, with some who went on to become strong individuals while others who were crippled for life by their past abuse & lived life popping pills
4.     The workshop was very good. It highlighted & ways to explain such sensitive issues to kids
5.     Informative as always

1.     I truly did not feel there was any need to get Sridevi over there. Can we have one program which doesn’t bring some or the other movie or TV star?
2.     I found Aamir’s reaction a little OTT today. The ‘oohh’, ‘aahhh’ & ‘sssss’ were a little too much than absolutely needed.

My opinions:

The saddest part for me in today’s episode was not the experiences shared by the victims but the lack of trust their parents had in them. It must be really traumatic to be abused in ones own house by someone who is considered a family friend. Imagine the sheer suffocation of not being able to vent out! Education is power. Hence I am of the opinion that every parent should sit down with his child & explain this issue to the kid in a manner in which he or she can understand. It is the duty of a parent to create confidence within their kids for themselves. As someone has wisely said, raising a child is much more difficult than giving birth. Very true indeed!
I will give this episode a 10/10 for the content & the workshop at the end.

I have been thinking about this topic the whole day today. And one puzzling thing to which i kept coming back was why did parents not believe their kids when they told their parents about such a thing? here are some points i could think of. they arent justifications just trying to understand the parent whose child was abused

  • The first reason why kids could be ignored could be because all children have a tendency to exaggerate. Maybe these parents feel their children are just over - exaggerating or are doing all this in order to get their attention. but then dont they notice the changed behavior of their child? i m sure after going through such a trauma the child is not going to be normal
  • Fear of society. maybe the parents feel that if the society comes to know that their child was raped or abused, the society will treat them (their child) differently. Alternately maybe the parents fear getting labelled as negligent
  • Disbelief that a child can be raped. Lack of knowledge could be the main problem here. this could be especially true if the victim is a male
  • In most of the cases discussed today, all abusers were people whom the parents knew. How does a daughter-in-law accuse (rightly!) her father-in-law of abusing her child. Will her husband support her? If he doesnt believe her, and things progress to a divorce & she isnt awarded the child's custody, what will be her baby's future in the house of such a grandpa without her mother.
What i have concluded is that whats most difficult is taking the first step, both for the child as well as its parent or 'bodyguard'. once they overcome the initial shame/ fear only then can the process of healing start. there is no justice for an abused. there is only healing & moving on!
Do you want a strong law against child sexual abuse? Sms Y/N (5782711)


*Aham* said...

hi! harish iyer here. nice post

*Aham* said...

hi! harish iyer here. nice post

*Aham* said...
This comment has been removed by the author.