‘Bad uncle...’ the child whispers, shifting uneasily.
Mother glances at Neighbour – kind and respectable. No, hewouldn’t!!
She nudges her 6-year old irritably, ‘Chup*… Bad girl!‘
(An attempt to tell a story in Haiku form)
Innumerable cases of child abuse are not stopped simply because we do not believe our children enough. We brush their fears aside, thinking they are baseless. They aren’t. They never are. If a child feels that there is ‘something wrong’ or ‘something bad’ – a touch, a comment, or even a look… that just makes him/her feel uncomfortable, but is unable to express it, it is our damn duty to take up the matter seriously and investigate, and protect our children.
This post has been written for the Child Sexual abuse awareness monththeme run by the Chennai Bloggers Club.
The Principal of a boys only school. He was jovial, old and respectable. The boys loved him. The parents respected him immensely. He was after all, ‘Reverend Father’.
He was kind to the boys, and insisted on meeting the friends and relatives of the boys. So every fun-fair day, or ‘fancy fete’ day, as it was called in those times, the boys would take their sisters and their friends to show them around the school. Rev. Father would call them into his room. Brightly-lit, spacious room, the shelves respectably lined with thick volumes. The children loved the room. It was, after all, the safe haven that belonged to ‘Reverend Father’.
Rev. Father would always offer the children lollipops. While the boys sat on the chair opposite the huge teak wood table, Rev.Father would call the girl over to his side. One hand would go protectively around the back of the little 6 or 7 year old child, drawing her close to him. The huge table almost hiding her, so her brother/friend could only see her neck and above. Rev.Father would stoop to the child’s level, and ask normal questions very kindly, ‘What is your name, my child?’ ‘What does your daddy do?’. You know, the sort of questions any caring, elderly person would ask!
While in the meanwhile, his right hand would creep up the little child’s thighs, get into her panty, and fiddle away, until the barrage of questions stopped. Usually, the child would remain silent. WHAT DOES A 6 YEAR OLD KNOW OR UNDERSTAND?
* First, the child is taken aback.
* Second, the child is confused.
* Third, the child has no escape!!
Once her turn was over, he would give her more lollipops, and wait serenely for the next child.
So this went on, until one of the kids realised SOMETHING WAS WRONG, and complained to her mother. The mother was SHOCKED. She questioned the other children’s parents. Then, she was FURIOUS.
Reverend Father had molested several little girls who had entered his room. Sadly, some of the boys even KNEW ABOUT IT, and despite that, they went ahead and brought their unsuspecting friends to him.
And then what?
Well, what do you expect? A Bolly-wood style Morcha? A protest or a people’s movement against the sick Rev.Father? A formal complaint against him, after which he was thrown out from his post, or probably even imprisoned and punished?
Ha! HA! HA!
It was best to keep quiet. Nobody would believe it. Nobody would talk about it. He was above all this. It was a respectable colony. A respectable school. A calm and wonderful neighbourhood. All that was not to be sullied. It was best to keep quiet, and avoid the sleazy old man.
He was, afterall, ‘REVEREND FATHER’.
This happened two decades ago.
I wonder, had this happened today, will our reaction be any different?
Will we fight child abuse? Will we take up the issue with other parents, will we protest against such molestors? Will we put any effort to get such perverts punished?
Or will we, as always, simply ‘hush’ it?!!!!
To read more about Child Abuse Awareness, please head over here.