People come into your lives in many ways, and conversations often take interesting turns. In the past several years, many such social interactions lead to discussions about blogging and why I blog. One of the things I have learned over the past several years is that social problems can be tackled only if we face them head on and discuss them in whatever public forum is available to us, and blogging is one such platform par excellence. Every April a group of bloggers run a series of posts on child sexual abuse, to raise awareness about this heinous crime against humanity, and I am proud to be a small part of this initiative.
One such conversation with a young woman I met recently had her immediately sharing her own experience of being molested as a child by a regular visitor to her family, one of her father's older cousins. She finally told her parents, hoping that she would never ever have to see her molester again, or at least not in her own home, the first space that is meant to spell sanctuary to a child.
The molestation stopped, since her parents made sure she was never alone in the same space as the 'uncle', but he continued to visit their home as before. Even as an adult, she has not been able to come to terms with this continuing interaction. This, she feels, is a huge betrayal of her trust. It is incredibly difficult for a child to talk to her parents about being abused sexually, and then to have her abuser continue to visit the home is another betrayal. Merely ending the abuse is not sufficient to reassure the child. She needs to know that the abuser is no longer allowed into her home.
it is often extremely difficult for the parents to tackle an abuser who is older/more powerful in the family hierarchy. One of the most moving portrayals of such a desirable scenario was in the movie "Monsoon Wedding." More recently, we have a survivor finally confront her abuser in the movie "Highway." Such scenes are rare, both in the fictional as well as the real world. The need of the hour is prevention, to keep our children safe, as well as not to vitiate their trust in us.
For prevention of CSA, awareness is paramount. Awareness that translates into protection, not paranoia. The CSAAM homepage has many valuable resources that can guide parents and guardians of young children, as well as very simple ways of helping a young child establish inviolable boundaries for her/himself.
Let no one violate your child's trust in you and the world.