A principle of Buddhism states that: “Never hurt those who are weaker than you”. Childhood is the most fragile, carefree, relaxed, happy, and a no burden stage of life but there are childhoods that are burnt. Mine was a burnt childhood. Burnt by perpetrators, burnt by the evil-eyed, burnt by those who for their selfish motives and needs ruin one entire life. In this article, I make an attempt to share my story to reach out to those who have been victimized by child abuse and to those who created these victims. I do not intend to write this article to garner any kind of sympathy but to aware people about the trauma that comes with it and, to ensure that this does not happen with anybody else.
I was child abused, as a toddler. As a toddler, when I should have played with my dolls, and teddy bears I was sexually abused multiple times and for good seven years. I was so scared after the incident that I could not tell my parents. I thought they would harm me more or that they would kill me. I, out of fear, used to urinate on the bed until I was 13 or 14. My periods started when I was as young as 8. I even went through physical violence and fear of pregnancy at such a tender age. As I recall, I used to be lost in class and in school as well. I could not answer questions like other kids, I could not understand the interesting concepts taught in the class. I used to keep staring at the black board. There was no one who understood my pain and suffering. There were kids in my class who used to mock me and make fun of me. There were circles made during the “games period” and nobody in that circle wanted to stand next to me. Everyone ran away from me, nobody stayed with me. It became so difficult to stay in my own classroom that I had to change my section again with great difficulty. There were days, I still recall when I used to cry for nights, there were sleepless nights too, there were days I didn’t have food and I was given taunts by my family members too for not performing well in exams and for not looking beautiful. There were times when people used to call me “insane” and made me the culprit rather than the victim. There were days when I used to shout and cry to make my parents understand that what amount of trauma and pain I went through and I am going through but due to lack of awareness of the outcomes of child abuse they could not understand me to the extent I was expecting them to. I struggled a lot mentally, and emotionally and there was none to support me.
Nevertheless, where there is a problem, there is a solution too. The first solution to this is for all the victims like me that they “should not take the blame on themselves”. There were people around me who blamed me, by pointing fingers that I indulged in the act. I don’t understand the sense of these people that “how can a 7-year-old indulge in such an act”? I, in fact, didn’t even realise and comprehend as to what happened to me. The blame should be rather imposed on those who did the act. Secondly, the child abuse incident made me “emotionally weak”, rather very weak and vulnerable. Sexual conversation or acts distorted my mind and heart. So, it is important to nurture the emotions as much as the mind. Not only parents, but schools should setup a curriculum or rather a separate subject which is inclusive of topics such as child abuse which enhances the emotional strength of the students and teachers both. Students should have the capabilities to empathise with the sufferings of their fellow colleagues if there is any. Similarly, teachers should be able to relate to the problems of these students who have been victimised through acts of child abuse and rape and guide them too. A strong curriculum which gives importance to emotions too will help victims to turn into emotionally strong individuals. Emotional growth is as important as mental growth. Hence, homes and schools should have an environment that is enriching, nurturing and nourishing. Thirdly, there should be mandatory awareness campaigns for parents from all economic backgrounds too on how to nurture and bear their kids. On how to, protect their kids and give them a safe and healthy environment, post the incident because we victims have a tendency to feel unsafe and unprotected many a times after such a traumatic incident. And, even before the incident so that such an incident does not happen at all. Parents need to understand that many times, the enemy is in the house and not outside and vice- versa. I, strongly, believe that parents should keep an eagle’s eye on the people around their kids until they grow up enough to protect themselves. Also, adults who were victims themselves can make the environment around them safe and protected by choosing the right people among whom they feel safe, the right places to be in and so on. The victims should also learn to love themselves by not trying to make suicide attempts like I did. I did try to harm myself but it turned out to be of no use. Grooming yourself, focusing on yourself, and loving yourself is the solution. Harming yourself is not.
Moreover, the Government of India should give more incentives like the Maternity Bill, 2017 to parents with new born babies. The government should establish more acts like the POSCO act. And, the government of other countries should be and must be inspired by these government incentives and should implement such schemes as much as they can, and to the highest levels. According to the POSCO (Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act) the registered child abuse cases from 2014 to 2015 have increased from 8,904 to 14,913. These cases are from not only well-off backgrounds but from all kinds of backgrounds. These cases are prevalent among the labourers too. Lastly, to avoid flashbacks of the incident one can consult a psychologist and a psychiatrist too. Consulting a psychologist or a psychiatrist does not make you insane rather it shows the level of your awarness and your urge to live life happily again after coming out of a traumatic incident.
On a final note, this needs to stop. It’s high time that this stops! It’s high time we fight this and stop this! We should take inspiration from global leaders and Nobel Laureates’ like Kailash Satyarthi who are fighting child abuse cases so vigorously and strongly through initiatives such as the Bharat Yatra. We need to be vigilant and aware as to what is happening in our neighbourhood, in our nearest vicinities. And, join hands to end the brutal and globally recognised crime of child abuse.