Palak, a 10th grade student was busy preparing for her Maths test, she was so engrossed in solving the problems that she lost track of the time. "Come Palak, have your lunch. It's late", said her mother. Palak obediently closed her books, washed her hands and sat on the dining table.
She looked around and saw her darling younger sister Riya was not at home. Riya had completed her 4th grade exams and was enjoying her holidays. Reading Palak's thoughts her mom answered "Riya is at Anil uncle's place. She must be playing with their new born son."
Palak was about to take her first bite, suddenly she remembered about last evening, she had met Anil uncle's wife Sunitha, who seemed excited and shared the joy of visiting her home town the next day. That meant she was not at home today, Riya was alone with Anil uncle. Palak quickly got off the chair, trying to suppress her fear she said "I will eat lunch with Riya, will be back in a minute", she closed the door behind her. She panicked, as she climbed the stairs. Her mind was filled with unpleasant thoughts. She knocked at Anil uncle's door, which he opened after a while. She peeped inside and saw Riya sitting comfortably on the couch playing Mario game on their television. "Di, I crossed level seven", screamed Riya with excitement as soon as she saw Palak.
"Oh that's cool, come Riya let's go home. Mom is waiting for you" lied Palak. She looked at him sternly and asked "Sunitha aunty isn't at home? Is she?". He hesitantly answered "She left today early morning to visit her home town, will be back tomorrow". Palak caught Riya's hand and left his place.
As soon as they reached home, Palak took Riya inside her room and said "Listen, this is very important. You should be very careful when you visit any neighbor's, friend's or relative's place. If you find out that you are alone there, you should immediately come back home. The same rule applies to all uncle's or cousin brother's." Palak explained Riya about her private parts and said "Nobody can ever touch you here, if someone tries to, you should stop them and move away from them, call out for me, mom or dad. Remember we love you and will always trust what you say. So never be afraid of telling us anything. If you feel uncomfortable when someone hugs you, you can directly tell that person to stop doing so."
Palak touched Riya's cheeks lovingly, gave her a small kiss and said "This is a good touch" and then moved one of her hand over her tiny thighs slowly and other hand on her lower neck and explained her sister what a bad touch was. She asked Riya if Anil uncle touched her.
Riya said "No di, uncle was sitting very close to me, and was asking me if I could keep a secret. He was saying let's play a game but I told him I want to finish the Mario game first. Few seconds later, doorbell rang and uncle looked worried. First he checked through the keyhole, and then opened the door and it was you".
Palak was relieved that she reached at the right time and decided to talk to her parents openly about this incident, but first just to make sure Riya had understood their conversation she asked "You should never ignore a bad touch, nobody has a right to touch you like that. If someone does, what will you do?".
"I will tell that person to stop, start screaming loudly and come running to you di " answered confused little Riya."Good girl" said Palak with a sigh of relief. She told her sister what her mother didn't tell her. Palak was molested on several occasions by her close relative. Initially she was unaware of what that Man was doing to her, she tried to avoid him but couldn't and unfortunately her parents didn't notice her discomfort. She was afraid to talk to her mother about it, she didn't know what to say, whom to ask for help.
It was only after few years, she realized the meaning of Child Abuse and she understood she was molested back then. Even though this had happened few years ago, a thought about it tormented her even now. It left a scar on her soul and caused an irreversible damage.
Was it her fault?
Was it an avoidable situation?
Who is to be blamed?
********While the debate, At what age should SEX education begin ?? goes on endlessly. I strongly suggest instead of treating it as a responsibility of an educational institution, it should begin at home where parents, grandparents or elder siblings, cousins should take up this initiative and start teaching. Lets not ignore the fact that the percentage of boys having faced sexual abuse is 52.94 which is higher than girls (47.06%). So let's protect our innocent children.
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