Vasant Kunj, Delhi, India
Vasant Kunj, Delhi, India
As the school bell rang, the kids ran towards the gate, leaving the classrooms vacant within no time. The corridors were filled with the sounds of chitter-chatter, giggles and occasional shouts from teachers – walk in a line, go slow, don’t fight, don’t push!
Soon enough, the crowd that had gathered at the school gate was dispersed, and amidst the flurry of activity, there was one little girl of around 6 years of age still waiting for her rickshawallah.
The school peon noticed the little girl and came up to her, asking what was happening. She knew him well, as she saw him almost every day. She innocently replied that she was waiting for the rickshawallah.
Just then, he was interrupted by the sound of footsteps approaching. The peon panicked and quickly grabbed the little girl and rushed out of the room. He cleverly manipulated the other person and threatened the girl not to utter a word about what had surfaced between them.
The terrified girl somehow reached home but she was not in a good state. She was taken to the hospital by the parents where the doctor confirmed sexual assault. While it came as a painful shock to them, the mom and dad counselled her and kept quiet about the whole thing because of societal fear and apprehensions. Eventually, the girl healed physically, but the incident left indelible scars on her mind.
20 years later, this little girl became a mom and delivered a beautiful baby girl.
This story is of my colleague and a friend. While working together, we had developed a warm, comfortable equation, so even after changing my job, I was in regular touch with her before and during her pregnancy. But after her pregnancy, she suddenly seemed to slip into a cocoon and stopped taking my calls or replying to my messages. After a while, I too got busy in the daily grind, with thoughts that she was settling in with her new life and the baby.
Then one day she called. After a period of almost a year. That’s when she shared this story of abuse.
This story is a reminder that what we experience as children gets registered in our minds forever. Even though the physical abuse may fade away with time, the psychological trauma and mental distress remains embedded within us forever. It can lead to a lifetime of fear and anxiety, depression and PTSD, and can significantly impact one’s ability to live a fulfilling life.
Unfortunately, perverted elements are very much a part of our society, and sometimes despite doing our best, we are not able to protect our children. But by being there for them and showing them our unconditional love and support, we can make a difference.
My friend’s story has left me with a strong teaching; no matter how dark the night, the sunrise will always come. And it is in these dark times that we must be brave, strong and never give up on the ones we love. She confined in me that she had immense difficulties in her growing years in trusting people, especially from the opposite gender. Only after her marriage, she was able to trust again because her husband listened to her, supported her and helped her in every possible way.
The trauma of sexual abuse is something that no child should ever have to experience.
As a society, we must make sure our children are safe and protected from any form of abuse. Sometimes, we as parents get so involved in securing their future that we unknowingly neglect their present. This should not happen.
Childhood is a time of innocence and exploration. Let’s do our best to ensure that no child is ever subjected to the lasting effects of abuse.
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