The Rebel

He loosened his grip. I was glad that he did. My wrist was paining. He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes as if relieved after a long time. I was hurt, disgusted, anxious, scared, shameful, angry and confused. All at the same time. I looked on with curious eyes. Grandpa slowly and stealthily cleaned me up with his dhothi underneath the blanket even while mom and granny sat in the same room watching television. And then he would give me a Parrys toffee rolled in a translucent green wrapper saying, “Shreya to Daadu ki pyaari bachhi hai.” (Shreya is grandpa’s lovely baby).

At three I didn’t know how to react or whom to tell what. So, I kept staring into nothingness.

Dad’s distant cousin from Jhansi used to visit us often during business travels. I hate pethas because they remind me of him and the ugly sticky feeling he left me with every time he stayed over. Till I was nine I didn’t know how to react. Then on I started hiding and avoiding him completely. I even stopped attending family functions just to escape him.

When I was about eleven, I started responding rudely to grandpa and this uncle. In fact I was rude with everyone. Especially men. And those who asked me to help these men with anything. Dad, mom and other elders termed me as discourteous, ill-mannered, rude and stubborn. They labeled me as a rebel.

I regret not having told Mom or Dad about these incidents. But then, would they have believed me? That’s the thought that stopped me from sharing anything with either of them. They never told me or made me feel that they would believe me. Sometimes when I look back, I realize it was my fault that I didn’t react the way I should have for whatever reason. But then I also wonder that was it not my parents responsibility to drill down on why I was behaving in a certain manner. Instead they chose to blame me and letting me be the way I was. Alone and cocooned in the darkness of my fears. And masking it behind the rude behaviour.

Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My dear daughter, I’m telling you this because I shudder at the simple thought of someone misbehaving with you. I want you to know that no matter who says what or who reacts in what manner, I’ll be there for you. You can count on me. I’ll listen to you. I believe you. I trust you more than anyone else. You can tell me anything that is bothering you at any hour of the day. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to regret later. Speak up. Speak with me. I’m all ears for you my dear. Speak up even if you have committed a mistake. I promise you that I’ll not punish you. I would rather help you correct your mistake or teach you how to avoid it in future. I’ve been sent as a guardian angel and I promise to protect you in every way I can. And all you need to do is to believe me, trust me and share with me.

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CSA Stats Header

  1. Approximately 5 children die every day because of child abuse.
  2. 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before they reach age 18.
  3. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68% are abused by a family member.
  4. Most children become victims of abuse and neglect at 18 months or younger.
  5. In 2010, 1,537 children died of abuse or neglect. 79.4% were under the age of 4 and 47.7% were under the age of 1.
  6. Boys (48.5%) and girls (51.2%) become victims at nearly the same rate.
  7. 3.6 million cases of child abuse are reported every year in the U.S.
  8. Abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely to engage in criminal behavior as an adult.
  9. About 80% of 21-year-olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
  10. 14% of all men and 36% of all women in prison were abused as children.
  11. Abused children are less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs. They’re also 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.

Information Source: DoSomething.Org

Related Articles:

Child Sexual Abuse: Top 5 Countries With the Highest Rates

Child Abuse in India – A study by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India

Abuse & Violence – ChildLine

India, a nation of child sex abusers?

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This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Childlike: Explain your biggest regret — as though to a small child.

The author Rekha Dhyani is one of the contributors to the We Post Daily and blogs regularly at Dew Drops. She also shares her lucky clicks at The Crystal Trance.

Posted from WordPress for Android

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21 Replies to “The Rebel”

    1. Thanks for reading Beloo! Every such incident that comes to light makes me more and more angry. I wish I could be an invisible genie and protect all those little innocent angels. But I think this is something that we can easily do and might save a lot many.

  1. You have brought out the most basic problem that perpetuates child abuse – the conflict in the child’s mind and her/his relationship with the parent.
    Love this piece. Also like the links you have included here!
    I am sharing this.

    1. Thanks a lot Sakshi! That’s exactly what I understood from whatever little I spoke about it with victims. It’s very important to have an open relationship with your child to help him/her come back to you with anything and everything. Saves a lot of unnecessary chaos.

  2. I haven’t spoken with victims, but I do believe that that is the conflict in a victim’s mind. who to trust and who not to? because if, like #3 fact says, the victim knows the perpetrator and he/she is family, then the victim gets a fear that what if every family member is like that. What I like most in this post is the words to her daughter, which touch the heart and in a kind way, tell the daughter that there is someone she can talk to if needed. Very well written. I’m glad to have read it.

    1. Exactly Vinay! When it is an elder from the child’s immediate family, the poor thing will always be scared of disclosing the details with anyone for fear that the family will only support the elders. Some stories make me want to kill those ruthless inhuman creatures for having meddled with a child’s psychology and his/her perception of what the world has to offer.

  3. I can’t tell you how disturbed I am on reading this. I mean one’s own grandfather?? I mean even animals are better. How much more low can we stoop.
    As parents we not only have to nurture our child but protect them too and also give them infinite trust. At the end of the day the child should have the confidence that he/she can come and tell the parents anything

    1. Bhagya, you are shocked about the person being the grandfather? I know of people who have been abused by their own fathers, brothers and first cousins. In such an environment how can you expect the minor innocent child to trust anyone in the family if he/she is not made aware of who they can trust fully?

      1. True. But then personally i have seen grandparents who doted on their grandchildren absolutely. Don’t they say asal se sood pyaara. So it came as a shocker.
        There is not much difference between animals and humans as such. We both eat, sleep, mate and defend. The one thing that separates us from animals is ‘dharma’. But then that is an outdated concept. *just saying*, i know it is out of the context.

        1. Very true. I’m glad that I had loving and caring grandparents and my girls are blessed with two sets of them too. But exceptions are always there. And the damage they do to the budding angels is irreparable to a large extent. It affects their personal lives, their development and their outlook towards life in general.

  4. Perverts like him cannot even be called pedophiles. Men like him are opportunists who take advantage of a child’s inability to understand what’s going on.

    It’s sad that we have to teach our children not to trust anyone.

  5. The scariest fact is, “90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68% are abused by a family member.”
    Parents must take pains to ensure that their child has complete confidence in them.

  6. Sick perverts. It makes me very angry that the people that the little child trusts are the ones who betray her. And you are right, often parents just brush it aside. I hope today’s parents are more conscious of this and communicate better with their children

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