Sunday, May 13, 2012

Child #Sexual Abuse

Imagine you are 5,6,or7yrs old.You are all alone at a place which is very scary,unsafe.It holds searing memories for you.Because you were attacked here.You have had things done to you ,which were very unfamiliar,painful,frightening & shameful.Shameful because you were asked to keep mum about them.Rather threatened with warnings of violence being unleashed upon those you hold dear.There is nobody to whom you can confide,& ask for succor,support,advice & protection.What would you do?Why ,run to your home of course,to it's safe sanctuary.What if this is the very place which sends shivers down your spine?What would you do then?Any idea?Any suggestions?

None!This is not an imaginary scenario.It is what happens to 30% victims of child sexual abuse .How do the poor mites live through these traumas?Nobody who has not been through this hell can understand it fully.It is bad enough that the child molester is often a close relative or someone very close to the family.If a child does gather courage in it's frail hands & hints about it to a parent,it is often disbelieved, or even admonished for cooking up stories;because the demon first establishes himself/herself firmly in the family's affections,and only after that does s/he begin his/her heinous acts.In some cases the perpetrator is so closely related that no punitive & protective action is taken out of fear of that person,or for fear of sullying the family's honor.The poor child is forced to keep quiet the second time round.The parent may even admonish the child for having been at the wrong place at the wrong time!Very few children are able to state clearly what happened to them because often they themselves are puzzled about it,or because the subject is taboo in the family.

There is another version of the same story.This time the child has grown enough to be titillated during such encounters.It is still in doubt about societal norms,expectations & moral codes.It is touched in a certain way & the body-chemistry responds.It does not know what to make of it.It has sensed that grown-ups do certain things behind closed doors.If that is correct,then what about this,which is happening to it?If it is right then why this hush,hush about it?And if it is wrong then why is it happening to it in it's own home by it's own relative?The poor little brain is all muddled up with all these thoughts but there is never an answer.Now the child has grown up.S/he knows for sure that what happened to him/her was incest or at least immoral.But s/he is tormented by the memory of pleasure experienced then.That makes her/him bad,scum of the earth,a lowly creature.Where can s/he hide her/his face?Maybe the tormentor is still at large or very near.How does s/he face him/her; &ward him/her off?An endless chain of emotions like fear.guilt,shame,hatred & remorse flip through her/his mind.

The demon has had,or maybe is still having his/her fun;but the victim goes through many deaths--of her/his moral,familial,social & personal selves.S/he is never free from self-condemnation--
"Why did s/he enjoy those encounters if they were illicit?It makes him/her a worm ,doesn't it ?On the other hand,if s/he liked those sensations,then why is s/he now filled with remorse?Why didn't anyone in the family guide ,protect or tell her/him,what was good & what was bad?If it was bad then why hasn't the perpetrator been punished or at least checked?The latter is  happy &normal,while s/he has gone to pieces.S/he can't talk about it;& yet ,it is gnawing at her/his insides.Whom should s/he talk to?What will people say when they come to know?They will judge her/him.Nobody will understand that s/he never asked for it & did not understand where it was leading to?

These endless queries going round & round in anyone's brain are enough to send anyone to a mental asylum.Hats off to those who still manage to put up a brave front,& lead a semblance of a normal life.But they can never be normal inside.Their self-esteem & self-confidence are at the nadir.They cannot relate,trust,& have meaningful relationships--a happy marriage is a long way off.So many of them give in to substance abuse.They can easily fall prey to a host of mental & physical ailments .All in all it is a very sordid state of affairs.Please.everyone,take good care of your children & display the courage to fight  the perpetrator.

If you would like to know about the symptoms which could indicate that a child is being abused,you may visit this link.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Full Circle !

"By the will and grace of God,a tiny seed blossoms into a whole.
A precious package of endless love,
That touches the deepest depth of your soul."

This was a preamble to a guest post by my darling daughter Sucharita.It is her very first blog-post.Here it is-----

Full Circle !
I guess i must have been feeling pretty suicidal that day to initiate a"give and take of views"with my seventeen year old & sure enough ;have it turn into'a post adolescent's tirade against his parents'.Blame it on my strict middle-class upbringing;neigh more on my over-protective maternal instinct;i'd been on pins & needles ever since my first-born had called me over an hour ago to inform me that he was starting for home.The trrring of the doorbell ,his dear face;and all was well in my world.Post the juicy details of his outing with his friends;we were all doing our own thing--my elder one surfing the net,my younger one practicing his diagrams& me getting out of one mental labyrinth after another.How best to approach the issue?A hypothetical approach beckoned me,& taking a deep breath i went for it."Harsh,suppose during your outing,if one of your friends had suggested you try a bit of that white stuff what would have been your take on it?"Aghast,wounded,outraged is the exact sequence of events that passed his face."How can you even think i would do something like that...i don't know why i even bother to toe the line(the line being;no ciggies and no boozing at parties or outings) it gets me nothing but taunts & jeers from friends & peers;& then you reward me by doubting me!"The heart-felt soliloquy was enough to rent a chasm in my heart;the size of the Grand Canyon.Seriously....why do we doubt our kids,when they give us no reason for doing so?

It is much like what we do while driving.While pretty sure that i am a safe driver,i constantly watch my left,right & rear for people whose errors might impact me.Despite all my watchfulness it's not as though i've never been in an accident;but then i've been at the receiving end & certainly not the catalyst.

So how does one get it right sans hard feelings or regrets on either side?Some good advice i've had ,when confronted with pre & post teen problems has been"to exemplify & inculcate sound moral values in them from day one & then watch them & more importantly their company, like a hawk.But this i felt,was a tad incomplete without having first smothered them with all your love.So do that & then carry on with the watching.

However i seem to be jumping the gun a little bit here with the adolescent# talk, without having spoken of the genesis of the "looking out syndrome".It really owes it's existence to the magical moment when you discover you have a life growing inside you ,which in turn birthes a phenomenon likely to continue a lifetime;wherein you will be constantly observing,assessing,evaluating &innovating your parenting skills as per age & disposition.

However,beware!You will not be the only one doing the observing;an adorable pair of eyes is watching you from the crib & you do want your bundle of joy to see,hear,imbibe & eventually speak what is ethically & socially acceptable.Little by little you start setting rules & very soon the need arises to back them up with valid reason.Was it just yesterday that s/he started walking & now suddenly wants to soar up in the sky & you two seem to be up in arms all the time; with you emphasizing that freedom & responsibility go together & answerability to you will never be debated upon.It is imperative also to ingrain the fact that rules pertaining to his/her security are inflexible,as is the fact that you will have healthy arguments without ever loosing respect for each other.

All the talk of rules & guidelines brings to mind a vital thought.While discipline is paramount,bearing no less import is also the quality-time,attention & sympathetic ear you owe to your progeny.The worst blow you can inflict to your child's self-esteem is by replacing the aforesaid with monetary gifts & easing your conscience .Your child is no doubt going to lap up the goodies with great enthusiasm but s/he is not getting fooled for a minute & will not hesitate in sounding you off about it one day.

I am quite with it when people say that 'life & time are the best teachers' but equally vital is the education you receive when you bring a child into your world.It is a two way lane & don't hesitate to learn & share your mundane,extraordinary & even sombre experiences with your kids.Besides giving you some wonderful 'Nikon' moments;their fresh perspective at times gives you a new battery of ideas & also helps you to see things in an entirely new light.

I used to feel my greatest achievement as a mother besides having him/her confide in me was to be able to face-read them when they came from out & foretell what their day had been like (now however i can do so by the way they sound the bell);but my children i am proud to say, beat me to it when they clearly saw through my plastic smiles & queried"What's wrong ma?" "Nothing my sweet" sang my heart as long as i have you read me as well as i read YOU!