April is child abuse prevention and awareness month. This is an issue which needs urgent attention all over the globe.
This is my contribution , an effort to raise awareness and my voice Against Child Abuse.
Here is a poem I wrote some time back on this issue.
Do click on the link and read. Leave your heartprints there .
A daughter’s letter to her parents
Dad, you’re no more but I have Memories of you.
Memories that I will take with me to the grave. I know that Peter would be alive today but for you. It wasn’t a freak accident that killed him. You killed him. He died so that I could live.
I remember how you called me your “ special girl” “ daddy’s little darling” who needed
“ special attention” . I did not want it.
I remember how you made me feel that you belonged to me and I to you and touching and kissing were gestured to make the bond stronger. Only that with time the bond became a bondage. I had no option than to give in day or night.
The world saw us as a happy family, all nice and clean and well fed. Loving parents and adorable kids.
When ma was away you made our days “special” by taking us for fishing at the creek. We laughed and had fun and enjoyed a hearty meal but then something always annoyed you and you ordered me to the basement and I could hear the shouts, cries as you kicked, slapped and hit peter till he turned blue. I would sit in a dark corner dreading the door to open. You would walk in quietly and call me in the most tender voice I ever heard and then make me sit in your lap and touch me all over and crushing me against you. I felt suffocated but remembered that you had bad temper. Submission was the only solution.
I and Peter would sit under the tree in the back yard and silently nurse our inner wounds.
You hated him and threatened him to keep his mouth shut and he just two years older than me would cook up stories about how his bicycle skidded and how the boys at school bullied him when people asked him how he got the bruises.
He suffered so that You would not hit me.
As we grew up I began to resent your advances but that made matters worse and you slapped me, pulled my hair and even kept us hungry for days
You remember ma when you went for your assignments and to granny’s because you needed to “ get away” from everyday fights and we cried and pleaded to be taken along but you never listened to us?
Even when you were at home many times we saw you hiding behind the curtains crying and watching us but you remained silent.
All the “ special dinners” that we had were indicative of something dreadful future event.
My body hurt at places which I did not know existed. I bled at times and had sores that hurt. The more I protested the stronger he became.
You had power that you misused and made us what we are. We trusted ourselves with you because we HAD too.
We were left feeling alone, betrayed, abandoned, worthless, even unlovable.
I hated you mom and I hated you dad but most of all I hated myself.
I wondered how come you never saw our bruises, our pain and hurt, how come you never noticed our falling grades and ill health.
I took solace in eating and smoking , I bunked classes to “ fit in” . Overeating made me obese.
Peter became more reserved and shut himself from the world. His grades fell and he always fell sick. Many times I heard ma tell you to leave him alone and then I understood why I escaped your attention.
He took my place to save me the pain and guilt.
When you left one night the hell broke loose in our home. We were made to do all the chores , cook, clean and most of all amuse HIM. Many a times we were beaten up, locked in separate rooms without food and water.
Until one day when Peter died under ‘mysterious circumstances’.
The matter was hushed due to His “ contacts” at higher places and you never knew the real reason for his death but I knew.
His funeral became an opportunity for me to escape. I ran away from home. I was barely 15.
Life took its course and today after four years I stand at your funeral hoping that maybe it will heal some of my wounds and Peter’s soul would rest in peace too but some wounds never heal.
We lost our innocence, our childhood and Peter his life only because You remained Silent.
SAY NO TO CHILD ABUSE
Child abuse is usually classified into three major types: physical, sexual and emotional.
Child sexual abuse has been defined as involvement of dependent and immature children in sexual activities they don’t fully comprehend to which they are unable to give informed consent.
The Juvenile Justice Act 1986 defines child sexual abuse as interaction between a child and an adult in which the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person. Sexual abuse is not often identified through physical indicators alone.
Emotional abuse is the neglect or maltreatment of children. It may involve a disregard of the physical, emotional, moral or social needs of the children.
The Indian Penal Code does not spell out definition of child abuse as a specific offence; neither does it offer legal remedy and punishment for “child abuse”. The IPC broadly lays out punishment for offences related to rape or sodomy or “unnatural sex”. The IPC laws are rarely interpreted to cover the range of child sexual abuse; the law relating to terms “sodomy” or “rape” are too specific and do not apply to acts like fondling, kissing, filming children for pornographic purposes, etc.
Even the law for the welfare of children, the Juvenile Justice Act, does not specifically address the issue of child sexual abuse. It is difficult to apply the provisions of existing laws to any case of child abuse as it is easy for a defence lawyer to make use of the legal loopholes to facilitate their client’s escape from punishment. Even if someone does get convicted under the IPC for rape, the maximum imprisonment is a mere two years. [ LINK ]
This is what the law says – Laws on child abuse in India
Organizations like Prayas, CRY and many others are trying to combat this issue in India.
Arpan is a registered organization based in Mumbai with a mission to Prevent occurrence of Child Sexual Abuse and heal those who have been affected by it.
Asia Sentinel reports :
India is home to more than 375 million children, comprising nearly 40 percent of the country’s population, the largest number of minors in any country in the world. Despite its ethos of non-violence, tolerance, spirituality and a new trillion-dollar economy, India hosts the world’s largest number of sexually abused children, at a far higher rate than any other country. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every four girls and one in every seven boys in the world are sexually abused, hardly encouraging, but still far below India’s totals.
69 per cent of all Indian children are victims of physical, mental or emotional abuse, with New Delhi’s children facing an astounding abuse rate of 83.12 percent.
It is the least documented violation in our country.
Apart from the sexual abuse including child prostitution and child pornography , child labor, child slavery, child marriages and child trafficking need to be tackled with strict measures.
We urgently need a legislation that deals specifically with child abuse .
There is also a need for strict enforcement of the law.
Also, parents, teachers and others in the community play a vital role to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.
Children are the country’s greatest human resource and a measure of the country’s social progress lies in their well-being :
Don’t we want our children to be healthy, educated, safe, happy and have access to life opportunities?
Come join hands to prevent child abuse and neglect. Report any case you know of to the concerned authorities. Raise your voice and make people especially children aware of what abuse and neglect is and about their rights.
It is time to SAY NO TO CHILD ABUSE. DO YOUR BIT NOW
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