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Child Sexual Abuse and Your Children

I just saw a video on Child Sexual Abuse shared by a friend on Facebook and like all topics close to my heart, this topic got me to want to talk. So here goes – This post is for all my friends out there who have just become or are going to become parents. I hope it helps keep your children safe!

Take a moment to watch this video; it has staggering numbers and interesting insights.

(Just in case the video doesn’t show, click here)

Child Sexual Abuse is quite common, so common that we should squirm in discomfort but we don’t because we don’t know the actual numbers. Children don’t talk about it!

I should know, I was abused as a child but I didn’t tell my parents because the treats would stop and I didn’t really understand that it was abuse. That particular insight hit me in teenage when I learnt the work ‘sex’. Then there were all the other emotions attached – shame, guilt, fear, you name it. It took me years to finally open up and tell my parents. My Mom took it well and was so supportive. The only question she asked me about it was ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’

Why didn’t you tell us?

Thats a great question and looking back I ask myself the same thing, Why didn’t I tell them? There were lots of reasons, it was a neighbour and family friend we trusted, I got treats for ignoring his fingers, I didn’t really understand what he was doing, I didn’t want the chocolates to stop, I didn’t want to be scolded or told I’m telling silly stories… It’s a long list!

The truth is children don’t understand they are being abused at a young age and that is our fault. We don’t talk about it or make our children comfortable with sharing everything under the sun with us without the fear of being reprimanded. At an age where the child understands what is happening to them the chances are higher of them saying no or asking for help. The crucial years are until they are about 12.

Here’s a few things you can do as a parent –

1. Talk to your child. You don’t need the child to understand the concept of sex at 1 or 2 but you definitely can make a child understand what touch is ok and what is not. Extend this education slowly as they grow, its important for them to know this!

2. Win their trust. Make sure your relationship with the child is such that he or she can tell you anything. Don’t judge them, shrug them-off or say something is silly; for them it isn’t.

3. Check on them. Off and on ask them about the people around them. Who does what with them, what do they play, what do they say and be ok with all the replies you get. It may sound silly but there are clues there. A lot of them.

4. Screen EVERYONE. I can’t stress this enough. When it comes to your child don’t trust anyone. Always screen and be alert. The highest numbers of abusers are inside the trust circle.

5. Get involved with your child. Children need love and attention and if they aren’t getting enough of it at home they will look elsewhere. That’s when it’s real easy for someone to take advantage of them.

Have you heard stories of abuse? Have your own?
Got suggestions for parents? What do you do with your kids? Please share them in comments, I’d love to hear from you.

(Sharing about my being a victim of child abuse publicly wasn’t easy and I’m not looking for pity or a ‘oh I’m sorry for you’. I’m over that and I’m sharing my story because I think it is so important for my friends & their kids out there to understand just how real and possible Child Sexual Abuse is. I want to help children out there and make sure they don’t go through it too. Abuse is not just in that moment; it’s for a lifetime!)

Update: I came across an excellent video through a friend that shows how you can teach your children about “Bad Touch”. Hope it helps you keep your children safe!

May 12, 2011   3 Comments

My Take on Hijras and Homosexuality

Last night I had a conversation on twitter about hijras and homosexuality. It all started with a program on NatGeo ‘Indian LadyBoys’, which was about hijras, crossdressers and transsexuals. It was very interesting and must watch if you manage to catch it on TV, if not, try and spend some time with a hijra; their lives are very interesting and not very different from ours or read here on Wikipedia about Hijras.

Over the years I have met a lot of hijras and even spent a night talking to one in an unreserved coach on the Indian Railway. I have come to respect them for standing up to who they are no matter the odds society throws at them. Their life is tough but they smile and accept it; that’s something most of us can’t do.

Most of us treat them badly and think they are all harassing beggars; not true. They are people who want respect most of all. Try speaking to one nicely, even if it is just to say you have no change. You’d be surprised by how you don’t get harassed. You might just get a really nice free smile.

I don’t like how people treat them or think they are un-natural. They aren’t and we in India shouldn’t be thinking that way. Our culture is filled with them; Arjuna who lived for a year the life of a eunuch disguise as a transgender Brihannala, is an excellent example. We from age-old wisdom should know they are a part of the pattern. We need them, they serve a grander purpose. You think I’m mad, don’t you? 🙂

Well from the way I look at it, in every species some choose a different path which leads to NO pro-creation. This is a necessity to control the species number while still keeping the working number constant. They are not very different from people who choose not to marry or not to have children. They all play a very important role in the grand scheme of things. I’m including all differents here – Hijras, Transgenders, Homosexuals, Transexuals, …

So why treat them so badly, why call them un-natural? Why can we not accept them and get to know them beyond their sexual choice. Why must we be biased; this is just like a religious and caste bias and we fight that. What do you think? Should we still be biased?

Photo Credits: & Arunreginald
Thanks on Twitter to: @aravindkumar, @manjunaath, @s_kc

March 2, 2011   1 Comment

Bandh Baaja Bangalore and Challenge ‘My Vote’

**** Disclaimer – These are my opinions and my opinions only. If you don’t like them, feel free to express your opinion, I’d be glad to hear you out. If you feel the same way as me, please tell me your thoughts in comments. If you feel insulted as a pro BJP person, please go elsewhere, I’m not gonna care; ever. All comments to this post WILL BE MODERATED.

I was just whining about the bandh not letting me get my dogs home today and how BJP is a lousy party and was just being a pain-in-the-arse that would not bring it into power again. After all look at it, to me its clear there is some corruption done by mister Yedi so all this is just drama and hassle for the public. The question is how much but him being big minister the amount also will be big, anyless would hurt his ego.

Anyway, to this Che (my hubby) got to telling me about the ground level work done by the BJP and he thinks they’ve done more locally for us than the Congress and JDS earlier. And yeah, I have to agree with him. That said I still am not sure I like BJP or will support them. Their policies and stand is just not pro women. To me that is an issue close to my heart; call me a feminist but I do care about my safety and security. I care about my freedom of speech and expression, even in clothing.

This got Che to challenge me, and I love challenges so it’s on. Now the challenge is to shift my polling station from RT Nagar to Kodichikanahalli for the next election. Check out the people standing from my area for election. Read their manifestos and ask questions. Only then decide who gets my vote.

It’s the first time I will research the person, until now I have always voted party. Che has a point; if I do not take interest in local politics around my home how can I whine about state and center politics. Where is my involvement? As a democracy the power lies with the people but we aren’t exercising this power in an educated manner, at least I haven’t until now.

So the challenge is to vote this time with full knowledge of what I am voting into power, just what the candidate will do, has done and question everything to be done in future. I DO HAVE A SAY in this country; its mine after all.

Wanna take it up too? 🙂

Photo Credits: Photo1, Photo2, Picture3

January 22, 2011   4 Comments