Veera was a chirpy talkative girl. And she would often talk alone, answering her own questions about life, relationships, rituals, and her strong affinity with nature.
She would talk to strangers on the bus, sharing her dream of living on a top of a mountain in a small mud house.
Her friend was once surprised to see her talking to nature, appreciating its beauty and admiring with curiosity so as to how every species work in cohesion without any pride, ego or greed, unlike humans.
She could talk to anyone endlessly except with her parents. Every time she would try to share her feelings or dreams, they would often give her the same advice which did nothing but stop Veera from talking to her parents. And the advice would be, “Be sensible. You can’t always talk your heart out without thinking twice.”
And one weekend Veera was traveling to the mountains with a group of friendly strangers whom she had met on the bus.
It was the conspiration of the universe to help Veera meet those friendly strangers to comfort her to bring out the skeleton in her closet.
A story that no one knew except for her mother and the best her mother could do was silence her. And that evening sitting on the rock alongside the river stream with her new friends, Veera wanted the hurtful past to flow like the water and she couldn’t hold herself from sharing the blemish past.
The skeleton in the closet.
Veera enjoyed and loved the company of her uncle, Manoj. He would play with Veera like a child, buy her chocolates and make her sit on his lap and tell her lots of beautiful stories. She always waited for him to visit her because no one was giving Veera the kind of love, care, and attention that she was generously getting from her uncle.
Until one fine day, Veera was, as usual, sitting on her uncle’s lap when she felt something strange. The touch of her uncle on her arms and back sent a shiver down her spine. He sensed her discomfort and to calm her he immediately added, “you are my beautiful little doll and uncle will buy you more sweet chocolates and also the Barbie doll that you were asking for”.
Children are always taught and constantly reminded to learn to respect elders at home. To never argue or talk back. It’s often practiced with such great strictness that if a child ever disrespects he is severely punished and criticized.
It was this fear of Veera that encouraged his uncle to continue this sordid act of shame and disgust. He would take Veera into the bathroom, keep running the water and make love.
The poor little girl would scream in pain, her head spinning with fear of informing her parents or not understanding what was happening to her and scared to see herself bleed.
Veera was still very young and innocent to understand the physiology of her body and the changes taking place.
Manoj would heartlessly place his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming and to obstruct the sound of her scream from being heard.
The more silent she remained the more abuse Manoj would do. And after every act, he would comfort her by saying, “My princess! My doll. ! You are the most beautiful girl in this world. Uncle will bring you more chocolates and gifts next time. Please don’t tell it to anyone”.
It took immense courage for Veera to share her experience with her new friends who at the moment seemed to her like her family.
Just as she finished sharing her story her friends, they gave her power by sharing Alex Elle’s words – “You are not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage.”
Child sexual Abuse eye-opening facts.
- 90% of the children know the perpetrators, which makes it more difficult and traumatic for them. It’s usually someone within the family.
- Boys are just as susceptible to sexual abuse as girls, if not more.
- Of children who are sexually abused 20% are abused before the age of 8.
- Child sexual abuse negatively and permanently affects the physical development of the child.
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
I feel empowered to be able to write for a cause as the percentage of victims of child sexual abuse is on high rise and concerning the developmental impact, it has on the children.
In order to educate and bring more awareness to child sexual abuse I had an opportunity to attend an impactful and insightful campaign called ‘Aao baat karein‘ (Let’s start talking) successfully run by Parwarish, Delhi.
The aim of the campaign is to empower and eradicate child sexual abuse. In the last 10 months, they have successfully been able to conduct programs with 44000+ children empowering and educating them on the topic.
If the story and the cause have melted your heart and you want to join and be a part of the campaign, you can do any one of the following:
- Provide Parwarish permission to conduct the ‘Aao baat karein’ program in your schools/institutions/communities.
- Contribute monetarily. Any Amount, the cost is Rs.50 per child. You can contribute on the link shared – https://letzchange.org/projects/aao-baat-karein-eradication-of-child-sexual-abuse-100000-children
- Connect Parwarish with donors/corporates.
- Share the message to create awareness and to have more people join in.