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Sexual Harassment - A Life Ended

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by Metamorphic, Feb 2, 2022.

  1. Metamorphic

    Metamorphic Platinum IL'ite

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    Today, I woke up to a very disturbing news. One of my relatives previously lived in an apartment and the incident happened in there a few days before. The said relatives, when they lived there had a neighbour who had a son and a daughter. Fast forward now, the daughter is a teenager, aged around 14, recently took her life by jumping off the building, reason being sexual harassment by a member of the building association.

    She left a note, which says she has been facing this harassment since about two months. What disturbed me the most was those two words she stated in the note.

    According to the note that is doing rounds in the tabloid circles, she says - "I did not tell you .... because I am scared and ashamed of this thing. If this is any other problem in my life I would not try to kill myself. But this matter is the one I could not handle". These were he words.

    It's not very hard to image what that little heart might have gone through before she finally decided to end her life.

    The death and the note are definitely pointing towards something:

    - Why are the children of our Country "scared" of talking about abuse hurled at them. Why do they feel "ashamed" when they are the victim and if anything, it's the abuser that is supposed to be ashamed?

    Is it because of the "victim blaming" mentality & "judgemental attitude" that the society including most parents carry?

    Is it because we admire silent sufferers and applaud them for being "strong"? Are we shh-ing the children in the wrong direction by including too many words into the forbidden list of words?

    Or is it the media, the police and the trauma their impolite inquiries cause? Or is it the complete lack of confidence in the Country's justice system?

    What are the poor souls scared of and ashamed of when it is not even their fault?

    Very unfortunate situation and I only feel our daughters are given enough comfort & confidence to share and call out on abuse.

    Leaving aside what caused this and how to ensure it doesn't happen again, the state governments are fighting pointing out to the fact that the abuser belonged(s) to a certain political party. This is the heights of insensitivity and rottenness of our society!!

    Country's future generation going hopeless is pointing towards something really serious & urgent! I hope the rulers awaken and bring about the needed changes to education and administration systems. I say education systems because it's time we start teaching our children how to navigate life's ups and downs with courage.

    What's the use of education if it is only about ranks & degrees and not about knowing & building the inner self? Why doesn't our curriculums talk about overcoming unhealthy fears, inhibitions and that there's something called abuse, its affects on the mind and that it is never their fault for being abused? Why do they have to figure out on their own the hard way by experience and very late in life?

    Parents, BOTH dads & moms - keep an eye on your child, world is bad, she needs protection - physically, mentally & emotionally. No word is a forbidden word that concerns her life. Encourage her to speak & share. Create that confident environment at home. Judging can wait for later discussions, problem validation and open arms comes first. No, being abused is not her fault, she didn't ask for it and that's not the time you talk about "how differently she could have done things to avoid abuse". DAD, you are her strength. You don't have to hear about what happens in your daughters life through her mother.

    I wish & pray this particular family finds the strength and get the justice due to them!
     
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  2. Metamorphic

    Metamorphic Platinum IL'ite

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    @Laks09 , I didn't want to deviate that thread, so I am quoting you here.

    True! something like this in the known circles is really hard to forget. The words "being scared" and "ashamed" brought tears to me. I cannot begin to imagine the kind of pain the parents are going through right now.
     
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  3. SuiDhaaga

    SuiDhaaga IL Hall of Fame

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    I'm sure nothing will happen to the harasser.
     
  4. Metamorphic

    Metamorphic Platinum IL'ite

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    Yes, that is the most frustrating thing that we witness in cases like these. Now a days, every other guy is having political affiliations and no one is really taking justice system seriously.
     
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  5. hrastro

    hrastro Platinum IL'ite

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    This is so heartbreaking! I hope the parents find some peace!

    About 6-7 years ago, a 6-year old girl in another school that borders my son's school was molested by a staff. The entire local community was shocked - little kids were asking questions like "what is rape" - that was the time I met up with a few friends, created a questionnaire for kids to have open communication about good/bad touch, I had even created a website about it. I went to schools with this content, got it whetted by the counsellors and conducted awareness workshops!! I even went to the Childline director and spoke to him about how they responded so that I could give genuine info to the kids.
    Even my son's school and nearby schools created awareness programs in school and talked about these things openly.

    During the workshops we asked the kids to bring their teddy bears to point out what is good touch, what is bad touch.... and did some roleplays on how to react, we spoke about having a password for a parent or trusted adults. We gave ideas on what steps they should take in various situations.

    One of the little girls asked - but aunty why would they WANT to touch us there? Such innocence! Are we spoiling their innocence?

    But another little girl who used to regularly visit one uncle of hers, confided to her mom how that uncle used to touch her... It was so heartbreaking to see the parents - I was wondering if we did the right thing by conducting the workshops - is it better to know than be in the dark ??

    The world is so cruel! In case of sexual violence, the victim is the one who is made to feel like an untouchable, ashamed and dirty!

    The childline director asked me a question - "When someone is in a road accident, people sympathise and help kindly. But when the same child is a victim of molestation, they suddenly need to leave the school, city, hide somewhere or start a new life or just expected to DIE, Why? Why cant we treat them like an accident survivor?"
    And the case is worse with boys who are molested - the little boys are accused of "enjoying" it or worse, encouraging it!

    There needs to be a massive awareness drive sensitising people about sexual violence ! And not just hype and empty sloganeering!
     
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  6. Metamorphic

    Metamorphic Platinum IL'ite

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    I have no words, it took a while for me to to continue with the rest of the post.

    Agree!
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    @Metamorphic,

    In my opinion, the shame and fear comes because of the following:

    1) Somehow, this subject is beyond discussion among the children and parents based on the society we have built.
    2) The marriage for a woman becomes difficult if there is a known harassment. Despite it didn't happen because of the negligence by the child or parents, finally, the impact is in the life of that particular child.

    The societal norms we have created over generations is causing this unbearable pain and sufferings to the children.

    1) In my view, every parent should not stop explaining good and bad touch but go beyond that to explain what requires detailed sharing with the parents. As a matter of fact, the parents should create an environment at home for the children to share any information freely and not necessarily difficult situations. This will ease the children to discuss it freely with the parents. Some of them may be comfortable sharing it only with the mother. Even then, the parents should operate in unity in such situation and make it clear to the child that both parents will be involved in further actions.

    2) The society must openly embrace discussions of this type and shouldn't revictimize the children who had already encountered physical, pyschological, and emotional abuse. The society should understand that it can happen to any child. Frankly, there should be awareness among men and boys about this issue and even they should pull out those who are responsible for such crimes and publicly shame them for their crimes. There shouldn't be any attempts to sweep it under the carpet no matter who is involved in this whether it is uncle or grandfather or neighbor or even a boy in the society.

    Innocent life lost due to societal issue is unbearable pain to all of us and the parents will carry that guilt for their life time. Crime against the children are prosecuted so strongly in all the countries. Unfortunately, in a conservative societies, most such crimes are never reported due to this kind of fear and shame. It can be removed only by making changes in the society more than legislative efforts.
     
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  8. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    A succinct analysis, Viswa.

    These things are so mind-numbing to read in the newspaper or to even just remember that they happen.

    I wanted to add to one of the points in Viswa's post.
    Parents should create an environment at home that makes the child feel comfortable to share. Whenever there is such an event in the news or the local schools, and it is discussed at home, gently emphasize the importance of reaching out to trusted adults for help. Tell the child how they can get in touch with their pediatrician by themselves. Remind of the resources available and that taking help is not a sign of weakness. I always told my kids that their favorite teachers from past years were among adults they could trust.

    Even after parents do all the right things, sometimes the child will not feel free to talk about some things. Parents have to watch out for unusual signs. Stomach aches that used to start only an hour before a certain extracurricular class caught us by surprise as the activity was one the child absolutely loved and had been doing for years. It was an activity parents had the ability to view from a distance or occasionally from up close. Long story short: I talked with our child and instinct told me I would never get to the bottom of this. I suggested a three month break over the summer. The relief in my child's face is something I will never forget.

    I don't want to go into all the things we did about it, did we report anything etc. The main point is that no matter what parents do, the child may not tell them everything. So, parents should not brush aside any sudden changes in the child's behavior and sometimes they have to take action without getting to know all the details. You have to operate on a gut feeling. My husband and a close friend said it was a no-brainer to stop the classes with that teacher, and I did it. There are times to insist a child should do an activity for a while more (teach them to persevere) and there are times to call it quits.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2022
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  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    @Rihana,

    Very wise decision by the parent's instinct. I have heard at leaset 2 instances of the children getting sick or finding reasons to do a certain activity or refusing to visit someone's house. There was a girl who used to work as a maid in India and she particularly was crying and refusing to work in a specific house when her mom asked to go. When we interfered in getting to the bottom of it, we found the real reason and then, her mom instead of reporting it to the police decided to confront the man in that house that resulted in him leaving that rented house once and for all.

    One of my friend's daughter used to visit her uncle's place for holidays. Every time, she had to make that trip, she reported breathing issues and asked her mom to stay up with her all night as she was nervous. Luckily, a neighbor of this particular uncle was caught because he had an extra-marital relationship with another man's wife and has moved out of the town once and for all. After that, she was able to go to her uncle's place without any fear or shame.

    The children do communicate but through some other means instead of being verbal in such situations.
     
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