Did It Happen? I Hope NOT… NEVER

It was just another regular day. She had gone to a Watch shop to get the strap of her watch replaced. While the shopkeeper was doing the needful, she was looking around idly.

Just then a 10-12 year old girl in a school uniform walked in with a 25-26 year old man. This man had his arm around her and was holding her too close. She found something very disturbing about this guy as soon as she saw him. She pondered for a few seconds and saw what was bugging her, it was his sly smile which was plastered all over his face.

The girl was laughing a lot and was at ease with him, so he must be known to her. Next, she heard this guy asking the little one to select any watch she fancied and he clearly steered her to the showcase which had inexpensive plastic watches.

While the girl looked at the watches with a grin on her face, this man stood just behind her… rather too close and all the while caressing her arms. He was thoroughly enjoying whatever he was doing.

The girl oblivious to his sinister thoughts and actions was busy looking at the goodies. This whole scene shocked and repulsed her and she just couldn’t take her eyes off them.

She left the shop soon after but with highly agitated and disturbed emotions, thoughts and questions buzzing in her head… she just hoped… that she was completely wrong and the man and the lil’ girl shared a perfect healthy relationship… that the family could know of the guy’s bad intentions before anything happened to the kid… and that nothing wrong ever happened to that girl.

She also wondered… could she have done something at that point of time? May be said something to that girl or to that sick man? Or voiced her fear to the shopkeeper?? She also wondered, if all that would have resulted in something, but it sure makes her feel guilty still. This incident made her paranoid and vigilant about Child Sexual Abuse. It made her realize that silence is not golden always! Her silence will not protect the kids around…

Child Sexual Abuse is a serious crime that must be prevented and must never happen to any child, ever.

Child Sexual Abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened and mostly they are confused about it. The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.

I read on a website here, about the 5 steps to protecting our children from abuse :

  1. Know the facts. People who abuse children look and act just like every one else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy, seeking out settings where they can gain easy access to children.
  2. Minimise opportunity. If you eliminate or reduce isolated, one-on-one situations between children and adults, and children and other youth, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of sexual abuse.
  3. Talk about it. Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down by talking openly about our bodies, sex, and boundaries.
  4. Recognise the signs. Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused. Signs are often there, but you have to know what to look for.
  5. React responsibly. Disclosure, discover, and suspicions of sexual abuse provide opportunities to intervene on behalf of a child.

Though there are a lot of resources on the web which share a lot of information about how to prevent and deal with CSA. I found this one to be pretty simple and comprehensive. Please check it out.

UNICEF India has recently concluded The #ENDViolence Campaign – a social media campaign to target online audiences. To amplify the impact of the initiative, there offline media outreach, blogger involvement, and celebrity and civil society engagement was also included.

Read the UNICEF India to get more information. Follow UNICEF India on Facebook here.

Make a difference for our children : Spread the word and help put a stop to CSA #ENDViolence.

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42 thoughts on “Did It Happen? I Hope NOT… NEVER

  1. Seriously! What could she have been done at that point of time? I too, along with you, hope that there was nothing abnormal in the relationship that man and the young girl shared.

  2. Oh you definitely feel so helpless when you see something like this. I wonder what I would have done in this situation? I think I would have spoken to the girl and asked her if she knew this person well and whether her parents knew him.

    I shudder at the thought of things people do under the name of love and take advantage of the innocence of children 🙁

    • Yes, I guess, talking to the girl would be one of the options. It is indeed shocking and so distressing to even imagine what the kids would be going through… being abused by the people they know and trusted so much! 🙁

    • Me too! That’s true, Suzy, most of the abusers are likely to be people we know, and could well be people we care about; after all more than 8 out of 10 children who are sexually abused know their abuser. They are family members or friends, neighbours… which makes it all the more gruesome and terrible!

  3. In the situation described above, we can’t come to a definite conclusion, right? Also, people wouldn’t do stupid things in public (they don’t want to get caught). The best thing is to enable the children to talk about these things to their parents, who will be in a better position to handle this. But will the children be bold enough?

    Destination Infinity

    • Very valid point, Rajesh! The only way we can stop this menace and heinous crime is by creating awareness. Our children should know about the good and the bad touch, we should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms, we should keep all channels of communication open with our children and they should be able to talk about it openly too.It is our responsibility to make our kids bold about it!!

  4. Hmm often we come across scenarios where we suspect something, leave the place and then keep pondering about it right? I want to shout to all the perverts on earth ‘ for heaven’s sake spare the children ‘

    • Awareness is the key. If we teach our children about the good and the bad touch, I guess they’ll know about it and also they will confide in you, God forbid, in case anything bad happened to them!

  5. World is not safe for anyone it seems. I think it’s mandatory to tell the kids about good and the bad touch. Also, when a child says he/she is being touched in a bad way, parents must believe him/her.

    I guess, you’ve mentioned this incident earlier too on your blog?

  6. It is very important to inform the girls of the good touch and a bad touch,especially now that at early age and kind of exposure they get.
    I can say with confidence,if I was to see a situation like what you describe,I will not keep quiet.Depending upon the situation,I would take action…

    • It is not only the girls, but the boys have to me made aware of the good and the bad touch… no one is safe now-a-days! I wish we speak up and take actions when we see a wrong happening to someone!

  7. I know I have been that woman too – watching, getting an uncomfortable feeling and not knowing exactly what to do….Such a difficult call to make when you don’t know the parties involved. But let’s speak out when we can – the more we do – the safer our world will be.

    • Oh, it is tough as you can see that the kids do not understand what you are talking about, but as parents we have to do that and make them aware of the wolves out there!

  8. I have 2 boys, and initially i thought i need not worry, but then statistics showed that boys are at risk of being abused as much as girls are. it is then that i spoke to the kids about bad touch and good touch with simple examples.. and how they should tell me anything and everything that bothers them… i ask them to keep away from strangers and if a known person says or does something to make them uncomfortable, then just to tell me.i keep repeating it every 2-3 months, just to keep them aware.

    Infact, my friends who are uncomfortable talking to their kids told me to take a session with their kids, which i did, but i wonder if parents are shying away from the topic , then kids sense it too and then they end up feeling embarrassed about the whole thing.

    • Oh yes, even boys have to be educated about CSA. Nobody is safe now-a-days. Glad that you are teaching not only your boys but other kids too!! If the parents are uncomfortable talking about such sensitive issues with their kids, the kids would never have the confidence to share with their parents! As parents, we need to speak to our children about this issue urgently.

    • You are bang on, Alka! Mothers have to play a key role in explaining to the
      children where others should not try to touch them, how to react and where to seek help too!

  9. Even if she had done something, it would have only made the girl feel, that she had interfered,and she might have reacted to her help in a negative way. Yes sometimes one really doesn’t know what is the best way to handle if one is put in a situation which looks quite dicey like this.

  10. I would have started a casual conversation with both that guy and the girl. Just to observe that guy’s reaction. If he had any bad intention, he would not want to converse with me and would get irritated.

    • Hmmm…. that’s a good way to handle the situation! But some of these perverts are too smart and they know exactly what you are trying to do and thus would act all goody good so that their actions/words do not raise any suspicion!

  11. Jesus this reminds me one similar incident but i was just a kid myself that time around. But let’s get real. Would we really do something if come across these kinda situations? Most of the time we hesitate to take the initiative and choose to ignore and the perp took advantage of our weakness.
    Certainly little bit of help and our voice can make a difference. The more we speak out, the more indicter will scare off. We need to do our bit to overcome this taboo.

    • Agree, usually we just know how to react or how are actions would be received by others and in all this indecisive state, we move ahead… True, it is time we do our bit and help save a child!

  12. A very educative and need of the hour post, shilpa:). Glad you are spreading the awareness.

    An awareness has to be created about the feel of good touch and bad touch. The abusers are mostly known people like you say, to whom the parents entrust their children sometimes for baby sitting. These days, like in the above situation that you have narrated, we don’t know if it is the display of affection like in a healthy relationship or otherwise. And worst is that, even boys are not spared these days.

  13. We live in a bad world where not even the kids are spared. No, we cant trust anybody now-a-days, harsh it may seem but that’s a sad reality. Educating our kids, being vigilant and keeping all channels of communication open is the only option in front of us to keep our children safe from CSA.

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