“Come beta, come to me. Look what I’ve got; it’s your favourite chocolate.”
There will always be an elderly person who’d love to make children sit on their laps as they’d offer them chocolates. The children would happily sit on them and gorge on their favourite chocolates while the seemingly harmless predator would revel in the pleasure of consuming the innocence of their prey’s childhood with the subtle manoeuvring of their monstrous hands.
Little would the kids come to know what they’d actually be going through. They would have no idea that they had been playing in the hands of paedophiles.
Paedophilia is defined as a sexual attraction towards children. Prepubescent children. It is a disorder, and we need to have a dialogue about it at our homes, schools, workplaces and everywhere. However, given that the parents of most of us probably do not even talk about sex, talking about paedophilia within households seems far fetched. And it’s a shame.
Fortunately, Bollywood talks about it. Films like Monsoon Wedding, Highway and the most recent, Kahaani 2 have vehemently spoken about child sexual abuse inside homes. And we couldn’t be gladder.
“Ghar ke baahar bohot bure log hote hain. Ladki ko hamesha careful rehna chahiye. Toh yeh kyu nahi kaha k mujhe ghar ke andar bhi careful rehna hai? (People in the outside world are dangerous. Girls should always remain careful. But why didn’t you tell me to remain careful inside our house?”- Veera (Alia Bhatt in Highway).
Veera silently bears all the years of torment brought upon her by her paternal uncle, a person she thought she’d be safe around. Her blindfolded family members construe his sexual hunting as adoration for the little girl of nine. EVERYTHING ON THE PRETEXT OF LOVE SHOULD NOT BE ENDURED OR IGNORED.
The most disconcerting (and reverberating in the society) is the fact that her mother, even on learning of Veera’s plight, tells her to remain quiet and that it would pass. No, it would never pass. A child, when subjected to such horror during their impressionable age, will never grow out of it. Never.
Why would a family severe ties with their members because the latter abused the former’s small, innocent child? Remain silent and it will pass as the child would grow up. Nobody would bring the matter back at the table because ‘let the past remain in the past and move on’. They will easily forget and normalcy will be restored.
Who cares if the child has to see the face of their tormentor EVERY DAY in the house? Who cares if the child has to remain courteous to their tormentor, because they are relatives, in spite of themselves? Who cares if the child has to participate in family functions, show that they’re enjoying every bit of them, in the face of their shameless tormentor?
WHO CARES IF THE TORMENTOR CHOOSES ANOTHER YOUNG CHILD, IN THE HOUSE, TO PREY ON BECAUSE THEY WERE LET GO/”IGNORED” THE FIRST TIME? No one because, they are family.
Monsoon Wedding successfully shuns this nonchalant and unjustifiable treatment of the abuser. The struggle of having to chuck out a family member, who you always thought was an indispensable one given that you all shared a close relationship, is real. But it has to be done nevertheless. Sexual abusers within households need to be shown their real place. And, thankfully, the folks in Monsoon Wedding do just the same.
It’s all about observing. It’s all about being vigilant. It’s all about being strong. So, PLEASE, keep observing changes in your children or younger siblings and PLEASE ASK. Ask them if they feel uncomfortable around a specific person in the house or outside of it. TELL THEM what a good and a bad touch is. LET THEM KNOW that you will always have their back come what may.
That’s how you will start a big change in the society. AND YOU MUST START NOW.