SATYAMEV JAYATE 2 – ‘Child Abuse’
Along with many of you, I was also wondering as to what Aamir would present next after the shocking story of female foeticide. But, must I say, he stuck yet another master stroke this time again!! Please forgive me if I am sounding ecstatic, but this appreciation is solely for Aamir and his team for presenting such grave issues with utmost neatness and in a way that it strikes chord with every one, let it be the audience in the studio or millions of people watching the television.
The other day, I heard someone saying that Sunday’s will not be the same from now on! People are doing everything they can, from cancelling their weekend getaway trips to dropping the plan of an early morning movie, all this to ensure that they get the first feed of Satyamev Jayate. Needless to say, I am one of them!
In fact, for me, only Sunday has not transformed but the entire week is different now. I spend much time reading about things, collecting information and work towards being actually INFORMED about what’s happening around in our society.
It isn’t long since I wrote my last post about the last topic of Satyamev Jayate and here we are with yet another issue. Though, this one is more delicate and alarming than the earlier. Please excuse me for the comparison of two vices in the first place, but if at all I had to do so, Child abuse is more disturbing as per me; particularly for the reason that the victim has to live with the feeling for rest of the life. More so since these sinful things happen to them at a very tender age when they cannot even understand what is happening!! They cannot differentiate in love & affection of their loved ones and sexual advances by wicked people.
However, listening to a few brave people who have been through all this in childhood and still have a positive outlook towards life gave me a very positive feeling.
Aamir started the show with a unique way of putting across the message that the content of the show can be disturbing for kids. He, very informally requested all the parents watching the show on television to arrange to send their kids to some other room till the time the show was not over. At the same time, he also shared that he would need the kids to watch the last part of the show where he would do a workshop with them. I would call it a very effective way of connecting with the audience and passing the message to them, loud and clear.
I am yet to become a parent! Still, what Aamir spoke about in the beginning of today’s show about the basic fears of parents, had been in my mind for quite some time. May be it’s a normal process of preparing oneself for being a parent! But trust me; this issue was not there in the remotest part of my mind!
Incidentally, I am writing about ‘Parenting and its effects on children’ from Indian context and this show have happened at the right time to me. My focus has completely shifted now. Undoubtedly, all the parents would do anything to keep their kids safe! But today’s show has left everyone with a question – “Do we really know of all the dangers that might hurt our children?”
If our answer is a YES, then how come, as per the Indian Child Sexual Abuse report of 2007, a shocking 53% of all children below 14 years of age have been abused sexually in our country? These 2 claims cannot be true at the same time! One of these is a hoax and going by the reliability of the survey, it’s our claim that is resonating. Something is missing somewhere. May be we do not understand the gravity of this issue and the impact it has on the kids mind or we are so frail to accept that this can happen in our surroundings or more so in our HOUSES!!
A kid abused by a tuition teacher in her own house, another one abused by a very reliable member of the parent’s friend circle, someone abused by own uncle – aren’t these alarming enough for us to realize that this evil is present within our most secure (as per us) eco-system?
The myth of most of the people that majority of the victims of sexual abuse are girls was also shattered by the stats presented by Aamir, once again from the same report of 2007.
Out of all the children who have been abused sexually, 53% of them are BOYS!! That was even more awful!
Another surprising revelation made by most of the victims was that they couldn’t tell their parents about it since they knew that their parent wouldn’t believe them! That came out to be true when one of the survivors, Harish narrated his story. He did try to speak to his mother about all that was happening to him, but his mother didn’t believe him. Later, when after 11 long years of facing the agony and leading a dreadful life of being abused by a close relative, his mother realized that he was telling the truth; she felt guilty to the core of her soul. She confessed that in front of millions on the show today. Nevertheless, it was a message to all the parents who do not trust their kids with such issues.
Stories share by Cinderella, Harish and many other incidences were shared one after the other, and believe me every story was more dreadful than the earlier one. However, every survivor has demonstrated that they have the strength to come forward and share it with the world with a hope that it is not repeated on someone else. That was a true display of courage and compassion!
I had listed a few pointers which I personally have picked from the show and would like to list them down for all to review:
- Parents must take the first responsibility of their kid’s education:
Barely leaving kind completely in the hands of tuition teachers can turn fatal, as seen in one of the cases. It is also more surprising since the age group in discussion is below 13 years!! Parent can manage the education of kids of that age on their own. If at all such arrangements are a must, parents should ensure that they have the kid and the teacher in front of their eyes till the time the class is in process. I am not saying that all the tuition teachers are like that, but then a few have brought the bad name to the fraternity. Moreover, the tuition teachers, especially the home tutors must also ensure that they keep things open for the parents to have a watch over things.
- Be open to your kids about their issues; let it be of any nature:
Never turn down any attempt your kids to discuss some issue with you. Rather, encourage your child to share things with you – about school, friends and whatever they feel to talk about. You would not know if they are being abused unless you talk to them. The abuser can be anywhere and it can be anyone – some relative in your house, your help, school bus driver, lift man, someone at school (teacher, senior, or peon).
Try to pick up the cues from any change in behavior of your child in recent past and if you find any then try to probe into the reason for that. It might seem a waste of time if things turn out to be usual, but it might not be the case every time. You would never want to overlook some serious trouble that your kid might be in, just for the effort it would take to probe. It is your duty and responsibility, both!
- Be more alert and attentive:
I have seen for myself that parents tend to leave their kids for hours with someone whom they trust. Trust can be a very relative attribute in this case. A trustworthy house help, who has been entrusted with the caretaking of the house for years, not essentiality be equally trustworthy when it comes to kids. He might be a potential abuser. As per Dr. Rajat Mitra (who did an extensive study on the inmates of Tihar jail who were accused of Child Sex Abuse), a potential abuser plans his action as a well-thought-out strategy under which he picks up the victim. Someone, very close to you might be picking your kid as his victim and you have to be highly alert to protect you child from such culprit.
- Trust your kids when they talk to you about Sexual Abuse:
Let’s get a fact straight – NO kid would ever lie about being SEXUALLY ABUSED. No parent, for a fraction of a moment should doubt their kids if it is about being abused sexually by someone.
When faced with such situation:
- Tell the kid that you trust him/her completely
- Apologize to the kid for not being there to protect him/her when it was happening
- Give confidence that now since you know it, nothing will happen to the kid after the moment
- Tell the kid that it’s not his/her fault and the abuser is the culprit
- Finally, take a stern action against the abuser immediately without any delay
These few pointers might not be enough to tackle this problem completely, but I am sure that such small steps will reduce the risks of victimizing of kids to a great extent.
Well, towards the end of the show, as promised, Aamir did a small workshop with a group of kids aged between 5 to 10 years. He briefed the kids about 3 body parts which they should not let anyone but their parents touch ever. He also told them as to what they should do if they feel in danger, which included shouting, running to a safe place and telling their parents about it. He suggested that parents should do such a workshop with children once in 6 months, the least.
Another commendable initiative that was highlighted in the show was ‘CHILDLINE India’, India’s only and most
widespread Children’s phone emergency outreach service (1098) for children in need of care and protection, in existence since last 15 years.
CHILDLINE was founded by Ms. Jeroo Billimoria, who was then a professor at the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai. Initiated in June 1996 as an experimental project of the department of Family and Child Welfare of TISS, CHILDLINE has come a long way today, to becoming a nationwide emergency helpline for children in distress.
As of March 2011, total of 21 Million calls since inception have been serviced by CHILDLINE service and operates in 200cities/districts in 30 States and UTs through its network of 415 partner organizations across India. To know more, visit http://www.childlineindia.org.in/index.htm
In the end, Aamir has again made a promise to write to the government of India, requesting for an expedited process of passing the bill, which is pending in Rajya Sabha pertaining to the law to deal with Child Abuse. Yes, it is very unfortunate that we do not have (YET) a strong law for this hideous crime. A question is posted on the official website of the show. To support this move to pass the bill, please sms Y to 5782711. After deducting tax, the rest of this amount will be given to Child Helpline 1098 NGO to support their cause.
Let there be light and let India SHINE..
For those who missed the episode on Sunday, can view it now:
(As per information available on the report that was discussed in the show, A survey conducted in 2007 by the Women and Child Development Ministry and the NGO ‘Prayas’ in association with UNICEF and Save the Children across 13 states and with a sample size of 12,447, found that 53.22% of children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Delhi had reported the highest percentage of such incidents at that time.
In 50% of the cases, the abusers were known to the child or were in a position of trust and responsibility and most children did not report the matter to anyone. The aim of the study was to develop a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of child abuse, with a view to facilitate the formulation of appropriate policies and programs meant to effectively curb and control the problem of child abuse in India.
The National Study on Child Abuse is one of the largest empirical in-country studies of its kind in the world. This study also complements the UN Secretary General’s Global Study on Violence against Children 2006. (Courtesy: businesswirenews.com)