Monday, April 25, 2011

Child Sexual abuse - right at our doorstep???

The ongoing discussions on child sexual abuse are nearly ending. Survivor stories were truly heart breaking and I was moved to tears while going through them. I truly wish and pray that each one of them feels better after sharing their story and is now prepared to move on in life. Kiran and Monika deserve all the praise that one can possibly heap upon them for enabling us to participate on a very delicate but acute malaise that society prefers to pretend does not exist – at least not in one’s circle. It does exist and will continue to haunt little children unless we as responsible citizen pledge to do something about it. Let not all the trouble taken by the initiators of this project and others who actively participated in it, go waste. Let us each one keep our eyes and ears open and do our bit to help victims of abuse and their families now and always.

Having said this, I would really like to know the psychology behind such sexual perversion. I mean, it is not everyone that feels the need to molest young children and sexually abuse them. For every abuser there are several wonderful, normal fathers, uncles/aunts etc. I wonder if there is some way one can identify potential abusers. Most survivor stories indicate that such people pass off for very normal and caring human beings that make it scarier. I think the best course would be to build an atmosphere of trust in the family so that children feel comfortable reporting abuse.

The reports of abuse and survivor stories are going to remain with me for a long time. Thank you Monika and Kiran! I am now a much more sensitive human being because of you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Teen troubles -3

We hear a lot about teenage suicides these days. We had a seminar on the subject and it pained me to learn that teenage suicides in our industrial township are around 4 times the national average. Around the time when exams are held and results announced the suicide rates tend to peak. These days we feel less confident about scolding students. The other day a girl was talking to someone on the cell phone for over 30 minutes during class hours and I objected. Had it been two years back I’d have taken the instrument away, sent her to class and asked her to bring a note from her parents that they had given her the phone. This time around I merely said “If you wish to chat with your friends, do it anywhere in the college except this corridor. I have the habit of snatching phones. Please don’t give me a chance.” You see the teaching learning process continues and I am learning a new lesson every day. Who knows what the girl would do. If she prefers to talk over the phone during her class hours it was her problem not mine. Before I retire from my present job I plan to learn to smile at the girl and say “talking to your friend?? Please pass on my good wishes.”

I may appear to be joking. I am not. Our youngsters are ending their lives for reasons that seem to be trivial to us. According to experts there is a huge communication gap between parents and their teenage children. What is the reason for such a huge communication gap? My husband often recalls his childhood trips to his maternal grandparent’s home. The children would indulge in collective mischief and would be spanked by any adult who spotted their pranks. This adult could be an uncle, a neighbor or even a servant. Sometimes the actual culprit would escape punishment and someone else would get punished. They never took much notice as long as they got to spend time together. For every adult who spanked them there would be two others who would pacify them. No one bore a grudge and soon all was forgotten. These days one is not able to say anything to one’s own children, let alone a neighbor’s child. One reason for this could be lack of social interaction. When one interacts with those around it becomes evident that it takes all sorts of people to make the world.

Another reason is parental interference and support for wrong reasons. It makes them uncompromising and ill prepared to take set backs. Parents indicate that they would go to any extent fair or unfair to see their children outshine other children of their age. An unhealthy competition sets in and the child strives not for excellence but for one oneupmanship.

A third reason is misplaced expectations by parents on the children. A little girl I knew was good at elocutions and debates but she was just not interested in sports. Her parents enrolled her to play chess thinking that she would take to the game since it required mind power. Her father was a sportsman and he just could not accept the fact that his daughter was different. She had to excel in some form of sporting activity. The smart 10 year old asked her parents why it was necessary for her to do what they wanted her to do. When would she ever get time to do what she wanted to do? Her parents were intelligent. They let her grow at her own pace in the direction she chose rather than the one they had in mind for her. This is exactly how parents ought to act. Learn to draw a line between one’s ambition and its enforcement.