[Updated: August 2017]
Whenever I read the newspaper or browse social media, there are at least more than two news of child abuse and harassment, which is really disturbing and disheartening.
Recently read the news about a peon of Seth Juggilal Poddar Academy in Malad (Famous ICSE School) raped a 4 years old girl for 4 days in the school toilet. What the hell is happening with our children?
Otherday, someone shared in a Facebook group, “A daycare helper threw a little baby away intentionally and the baby got the skull fracture. Parents filed the complaint and the lady was arrested.” But, what about the mental trauma that the child went through?
There was another video that I watched and was numb to see the height of punishment and assault on babies. In that video, a nanny was beating up a small boy. She was with a stick and was inserting it into the private parts of the 4-5 years old boy. I was not able to watch that video completely. I was totally shattered to see the level of violence being done. And, I thought about the child, under what conditions the mind and the body of that small child would have gone through due to these harsh punishments.
Two months back, I read the news about sexual assault of a three year old girl in playschool. The incident came into light a couple of days later when the little girl complained about the pain in her private parts. The incident didn’t happen in some home-based playschool rather it’s a renowned play school ‘Kidzee’ in Bangalore. And, after this news got revealed, some other news came…
A month back, I saw the photos of a child being tied with a rope like a dog by his own mother to have food. It was totally inhuman. Pictures of the act were posted by the mother on social media. It went viral and then Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) took legal actions against the mother and rescued the child.
What is the child’s mistake that his own mother is treating him like a dog?
A few days ago, a news of ‘twin boys’ death after being drowned in washing machine’, was flashing on all the news channels. As per the news, a mother left the 3 years old twin boys alone for around 6 minutes. And, between those 6 minutes, twins climbed into the washing machine, which was filled with water and got drowned.
Many of the facebook groups and news channels were passing negative comments about the negligence of the mother. But, I believe that we should not pass our judgments because we don’t know her circumstances and the real root cause of death. I know, we must be extra careful when it comes to our kid’s safety. But, don’t hate that mother who already lost her two kids in a few minutes. She must be in remorse and blaming herself for going out while leaving the kids alone.
These are just clips which got recorded and shared on social media channels but in actual, there are a lot more such incidents happening around the world that gets unnoticed.
Sometimes, I think, “Why these incidences are increasing every day?” or they were already happening since decades but because of social media and internet, we are getting more information about these incidences now.
Whom to blame?
Do you think that school management is responsible for the child abuse and harassment? I have seen many school advertisements where they promote best amenities like AC classrooms, tablet-based learning, all kinds of sports activities, CCTV cameras and blah blah……. But, I have never seen any ads based on best-trained staff that knows what a child needs and how to take good care of a child.
Professional businessmen are running daycare centers and education system for the purpose of making money. They are investing in the areas where there is a huge demand.
Maybe parents are more concerned about the high-end amenities but don’t bother about the facilitators and staff. Well, I seriously don’t know, you can judge better as a responsible parent.
Are high-end facilities blessings or a curse?
I am confused!!! Maybe this is the time to shift our focus from a facility (infrastructure) to facilitator (loving people).
If you observe carefully, most of the times sexual assaults are committed by helpers, drivers or sweepers. It is very easy to blame the low-class uneducated people. But wait, before labeling them low class, do we know how their childhood has been? It is possible that they might not receive any love from their teachers, society or even parents.
Some people have such a bad childhood that they become mentally sick forever. How can they give love to your child if they have been treating their own children like shit?
A journalist tried to spoke to the children of a woman who was caught beating up the daycare kids. According to the children, their mom is sick. Further, they added, “ She beat us often with rods and sticks. She even used to abuse her neighbors.”
People who don’t understand the meaning of child care and parenting should not be allowed to enter into daycare centers.
I have read some incidents of molestation, child abuse, sexual assault by teachers also. Recently, I have read the news of brutality, where a student has been beaten up to death by his class teacher because he didn’t complete his homework.
How can we expect the love from teachers if their only motivation is to earn money from the teaching profession? In our Indian ancient times, a teacher (guru) was considered as the role model who motivates and encourages all of his students to do the act of greatness. We should hire teachers who could inspire children, who could be an ideal to them.
Should we blame the society for child abuse and sexual assault? Unfortunately, we live in the society where we cannot trust our extended family members, friends, and neighbors.
If you think that child sexual abuse is done by unknown people or strangers, then you are wrong, there are too many incidents of child sexual abuse in which the accused is one of their own relatives and friends.
According to a survey “more than 8 out of 10 children who are sexually abused know their abuser”.
What about our kids’ security?
Recently read the news of a 7 year old girl that got kidnapped, molested and burnt. She just went missing from her apartment complex while playing.
Every time when I have to leave my son with someone else, somewhere in my mind I am little unsure about my child’s safety.
Do you think, we as parents are responsible for our child’s abuse or molestation?
I remember, one of my friends was telling me that she has found the best daycare of the town, which has baby-monitoring gadgets. She said that now she is relaxed about her child’s security and can join her office without any worry.
But, my question is, should we start trusting monitoring gadgets because we lost faith in humans?
I am not at all thankful for the technology that gives me the footage of child abuse and molestation (without fixing the people). I would feel more secure with people who can provide the love and care to my child.
Don’t you think that because of these facilities, we as parents feel so much relaxed and we forget to check the behaviour and physical changes in our children?
How to fix the issues related to child abuse
#1 Trust your child
Always trust your child and listen very carefully when your kid wants to share something with you. Don’t make conclusions without listening to your kid’s conversations completely. Sometimes, children are not able to express such kind of incidences directly because they are too young to understand that what actually is happening with them. Don’t react or shout on your child if you hear any abusive words from them. Try to find the root cause.
Trust your child because your child trusts you
#2 Verify the school staff/facilitators
Verify the staff and facilitators of the school/daycare in which you want your child to spend his most of the daytime. Go and try to talk to people who are going to take care of your child. Visit the place frequently, spend some time there, try to observe the behavior of the staff.
#3 Be Vigilant
Vigilance is the key for parents to keep their children safe. Child abuse or harassment can happen in all types of families. Don’t ignore if you find something suspicious. Don’t be silent even if the abuser is someone close to your family.
Whenever your child comes back home from school or (playschool/tuition/some other place), try to talk about his day’s activities. Start sharing your own day routine, what good or bad happened to you. Sharing your own day activities will give confidence to the child to share his day experience with you.
But don’t force your child for anything. Children are very moody and like to talk only when they want to. We just have to make sure that our child feels secure and open in whichever environment he stays.
#5 Good touch and Bad touch
It’s high time that we should start teaching our children about “good touch and bad touch” in schools and at home. I know, it’s a very sensitive topic for parents to talk. But, don’t hesitate and please speak to your children about this as prevention is better than the cure.
I’m sharing a youtube video in which it is properly explained about the Good and Bad touch. In the video, a character Komal is being abused by her uncle, but she is afraid to tell this secret to her Mom. And, when the secret revealed, her parents approached the child-care helpline to get help for their daughter.
Don’t wait for the right time to come, start telling your child about his and her body parts. Tell your child that the body parts, which we keep covered are our private parts and others should not try to touch these parts.
You can use underwear rule or swimsuit rule. It means that the body parts, which are covered in swimsuit/underwear, are the private parts.
If you want some presentation layout that you can share with your child then you can check this puppet presentation. The aim of this presentation is to communicate about sexual abuse and exploitation in a creative way.
Difference between good touch and bad touch
Touch is good, pleasant and it is a way of showing love and care. A parent’s kiss, hug, and cuddles are the good touch.
Bad touch is unpleasant and it makes you feel uncomfortable, scared and anxious. You would know if someone is touching you inappropriately when you do not feel good by the touch.
Aamir khan beautifully described the good and bad touch in his show, Satyamev Jayate.
Signs that a child is being abused
As per the survey, mostly the child is frightened to keep quiet, but if you observe then you can notice few changes in your child, some warning signs that are observed in the children who were abused are given below. The presence of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is being abused, there may be some other issue also. Be a good observer.
- Behavior changes like anger, aggression, mood swings, fear, hyperactivity
- Sleeping problems
- Change in eating habits
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Nightmare or bedwetting
- Fear of particular place or person
- Changes in school performance
- Unusual fear of being touched by someone
- Loss of self-confidence
- Desperately seeks your attention and affection
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Physical changes like unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals
The impact of child abuse can sometimes be very dangerous. We can’t say, how much time it will take for a child to forget such horrifying act. Sometimes, the impact can remain in adulthood as well.
My heart sinks whenever I read the news of child abuse or harassment.
We, as a parent, always wish for the well-being of our kids. We always pray for the healthy growth of our children but how much time do we spend to make sure they are safe in the external environment?