Crime Human Rights Relationship & Lifestyle

Is your Home Safe from Child Abuse? – I

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The impact of abuses on a child can be permanent. A child is like clay and when (s)he is violently moulded into undesirable shapes, (s)he can break. His/her self-esteem, confidence, self-worth and trusting abilities suffer. The child may develop psychological problems later on in life if these are not resolved early. The stigma of seeing a psychologist or a psychiatrist can narrow the chances of an early recovery. The anger the child harbours within can lead to displaced aggression. Parents must treat an abused child with a lot of love and care and never ever ridicule or blame him/her. Trust when broken at an early age cannot be regained easily. A counselling psychologist, Kavita cites real life incidents to illustrate the cases of abused children. Here’s a two-part expose, in the weekly column that will appear every Thursday, exclusively for Different Truths.

Abuse is not an uncommon word these days. Society, media and gossip columns are abuzz with this topic. Child abuse can become a permanent scar when the after effects of the abuse on a child remain. Mostly abuse of this type happens in the home right in front of our eyes and parents are ignorant, scared or unsure as to how to react to this.

Lalita (all names have been changed to conceal identity) was blessed with a beautiful baby boy and soon she had visitors over and found it tough to handle the commotion. One elderly person, seemingly a gentleman, picked up the baby and began to fondle him in the genitals all the time murmuring endearments. Lalita mentioned this to me one day, while talking over the phone and I at once asked her to steer clear of that particular gentleman.

In another instance, Sanjana was a bubbly young girl of seven and her father doted on her. But he had one weird habit, which perplexed Sanjana. He would read some book, call Sanjana into the room and would start fondling her genitals for as long as he read that book. She would stand there confused, angry and ashamed of the act which continued day after day. Her mother was a housewife and had no time to pay attention to all this. After all her daughter was safe with her husband! Was Sanjana really safe?


Eleven year old Vishal has working parents, who leave him at home under the care of their stay at home cook, Ramlal. They are not sure if this is the right thing, but have no option. Off late Vishal has become quiet and subdued all of a sudden. Ramlal bhaiyya does certain things to him that he hates but cannot confide in his parents as the baddie has threatened to expose this act in public. Ramlal is a pervert old man, who strips Vishal off of his clothes and makes him do things to him. The boy knows this is wrong and is caught in between hatred for his parents and the cook. His life can never be normal now, as he has been robbed of his innocence in a cruel manner.

Manisha has a 16-month- old beautiful baby girl and is proud to show her off. Recently, a neighbour asked to pick her up and began tickling and kissing the baby on her chest. He would also bite and kiss her chubby cheeks. This could seem like an innocent act for many but the deep dark thoughts that grow behind such acts needs to be understood.

The impact of these kinds of abuses on a child can be permanent. A child is like clay and when he is violently moulded into undesirable shapes, he can break. His self-esteem, confidence, self-worth and trusting abilities suffer. The child may develop psychological problems later on in life if these are not resolved early. The stigma of seeing a psychologist or a psychiatrist can narrow the chances of an early recovery. The anger the child harbours within can lead to displaced aggression. Parents must treat an abused child with a lot of love and care and never ever ridicule him or blame him. Trust when broken at an early age cannot be regained easily. The relationship between the child and the parents could get estranged.

Most often the people who indulge in child abuse within the family are the child’s own parents, relatives and staff at home. In some cases siblings also. While this could be difficult to digest for some, this fact should not be ignored. It is always wise to keep your child with you as far as possible. For working parents there are ways to keep a watch over your child.

Explain the meaning of a good and bad touch to your child. This lesson should be taught very early on in life so that small kids can recognise any misdeeds and report them to you. Be approachable to your kids at all times. Encourage them to come to you with their concerns and help them solve it in a calm manner. When you have guests staying over, please tell them clearly what is acceptable and what is not. Do not hesitate to lay limits and stand by them. Instruct your staff to stay off the kids and not unnecessarily interact with them. Neighbours should not become your babysitters unless it’s an emergency. Observe how your spouse behaves with the kids and, if need be, take necessary actions immediately.

Children are our responsibility and landing them on others to make extra time for ourselves is not right. As they grow their dependence on parents reduces and the free time trickles in albeit slowly. Patience is the keyword here.

                                                                                                    (To be continued)

©Kavita Panyam

Pix from the Net.

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