Nandini and Mithilesh were one happy couple everyone among their friends and family knew. Their family includes their parents and two sons. People were envious of their understanding and compatibility. Though they belonged to a lower middle-class family, their true treasure was contentment and happiness.
But this wasn’t the case a few years down the lane. Nandini and Mithilesh were both well-educated and financially independent when they got married after a courtship period of four years. But soon after they got married, Mithilesh realized an issue that could have harmed their relationship in the long run. Nandini loved him a lot and was absolutely comfortable with him at all times except during their private moments. He sensed that she wasn’t comfortable getting intimate with him. Initially he decided to give her some time. But after about a year, he got annoyed and frustrated about it. But the mature guy that he was, he decided to talk openly to Nandini about it.
When he spoke to her the first time, she tried to escape on the pretext of winding up the kitchen. He did not give up. After multiple attempts, one day he told her a fake story about getting abused as a child. She finally broke her silence. As she recalled her terrible experience of child abuse at the hands of her own ‘Chacha’ (paternal uncle) for years, tears kept rolling down her cheek. Mithilesh understood the reason behind her indifference to intimacy. Nandini sought love and protection from him but was not comfortable about the physical need of the relationship. All because her childhood experience had wronged her idea about sex.
Mithilesh was a sensible man and chose to help his wife come out of the trauma. They decided to take professional help. During one of the counselling sessions Mithilesh understood that more than the trauma of the actual abuse it was the indifference shown by her parents that troubled her beyond repair. Her mother blamed her for whatever happened and shut her up permanently on account of the prestige of the family. Nandini’s innocent heart could not understand why the very people who were supposed to protect her and fight for her, accused and abandoned her.
In every such experience of child abuse, why is the victim always shunned? Why do mothers (and fathers) have to worry more about the family honour than their child’s plight? Why is the victim, a child, made to feel that they have no choice but to accept it as fate and endure it all?
Such parents, I believe, are the worst criminals. Breaking the trust of a child and making them feel unloved and unprotected in their very presence.
Nandini was lucky to have found a true companion in Mithilesh. But most of the child abuse victims are not. Child Abuse as people imagine is not something that happens and is forgotten by the child like many other memories of childhood. It stays. Not just in their subconscious mind, but their conscious mind too. It tears them apart if not handled carefully. It stays inside. Occupying a major part of their heart and their mind. Tearing them apart. Piece by piece. There is no closure. It just deepens its roots with time. Only the pain remains and increases invisibly.
Many parents ignore such incidents because there is minimal or no physical harm that has happened to the child. Physical injuries can be healed easily with professional care and medicines. What is much more dangerous is the mental trauma that the child goes through. Because they haven’t been heard properly. Because they have been muted for not fault of theirs. Because the ones to shut them up were the ones who were supposed to protect them. Because they are made to revisit the trauma time and again by letting them face the abuser as they are a friend or a family member. Because the perpetrator of the crime keeps threatening them.
Here are some alarming statistics.
Child abuse is a heinous crime. One that spoils not just one life, but many more in the future.
Irrespective of a boy or a girl, every child is prone to child abuse. As parents it is our responsibility to keep the child’s safety and emotional needs way above everything else.
Research has found that children exposed to violence or abuse, if left unaddressed or ignored, are at an increased risk for emotional and behavioral problems in the future. Children who are abused may not be able to express their feelings safely and as a result, may develop difficulties regulating their emotions. As adults, they may continue to struggle with their feelings, which can lead to depression or anxiety.
The following are some of possible effects of child abuse and neglect on a child’s mental health:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Academic problems in school-aged children and adolescents
- Withdrawn and/or difficulty connecting with others
- Increased hypervigilance
- Difficulty sleeping
The overall impact of abuse also depends on the child’s natural reactions to stress and ways of coping with stressful situations. Other factors can include age at which the trauma occurred, previous exposure to unrelated traumatic incidents and extent of therapy or timing of intervention.
Here are a few facts and figures that you’ll be shocked to know.
Child abuse and neglect occurs in a range of situations, for a range of reasons. Children are rarely subject to one form of abuse at a time. Adults can experience a range of psychological, emotional and social problems related to childhood abuse.
Research by McGill University (published October 14, 2015) showed that emotional abuse of a child may be equally harmful as physical abuse and neglect, while child sexual abuse often co-occurs with other forms of poor treatment.
Information Source: Click here to read the full article.
Types of Child Abuse:
- Emotional abuse – behaviors resulting in humilitation, rejection, fear, isolation etc.
- Neglect – Failure to meet basic needs
- Physical abuse – Intentional infliction of physical injury
- Family violence – Physical assault of children and women by male relatives, usually a father and husband/partner
- Sexual abuse – Sexual contact or exploitation
- Organised sexual abuse – Range of circumstances in which multiple children are subject to sexual abuse by multiple perpetrators
After going through all of this if you still don’t feel why child abuse is one of the gravest sins, please watch this short film. And let me know if you still don’t feel the pain of the child.