Safety should not be an illusion – Article by Dawpadee

Article by Dawpadee Kawshalya

There may be many newspaper editorials dedicated to children whose childhoods were blotched by the unpardonable acts of adults. Their tears must have provided inspiration for countless stories and given strength to many activists to take to the roads. Yet, the numbers keep reaching the sky.

The stories keep flooding newsrooms. For those who are not directly involved with the incident, it is just a piece of disturbing news in the morning paper. But, the incidents we keep hearing from rural areas where, people blindly believe that sanity prevails, go to show that if there is one thing that is equally felt by all the citizens- that is the sense of insecurity when it comes to the safety of children.

One does not have to go far groping for examples, as the moving story of an innocent child who knew nothing about the cruelties of a sexually frustrated adult who might as well be called a beast , only goes to show how unsafe the country has become for children.

There is a reason why children are considered the symbol of innocence and they require the protection of adults. Sexual abuse results in lasting consequences which go deeper than the immediate physical damage. A child who grows up with the trauma lives a life in a dark room deprived of all childhood joys and comforts.

It is no secret that, more often than not, it is not the culprit but the victim who is continuously penalized by society in the aftermath of such an incident.  The victims, whose lives have been scarred by the trauma they had to undergo, are often being looked down upon, considered misfortunate, and labeled for eternity.

They are often made to believe that it was their fault that such a crime occurred. A society considered fair and wise, with an educated population has never shown any degree of genuine sympathy towards these victims, who need love and a new dose of confidence to come out of the darkness.

In a country where the culprits are not sent to the noose, they can easily get away after greasing several palms, or for a bail that does not fully account for the brutality of the crime. This results in forming the misconception among other criminals that the law indeed is blind and complacent. Are the current laws not rigid enough to prevent sadists from committing  crimes repeatedly?

The incident again shoots the question as to whether sex education should any longer be a taboo subject ; for education will certainly play a major role in preventing such crimes.

This does not have to be detailed accounts on sexual behaviors of human beings but a clear description of child rights, and the physical boundaries a child should adhere to.

Immediately after these incidents, the Childcare and Probation Department opened up a hotline for complaints regarding child abuse. Yet how much can a hotline do to curb such unpardonable acts is a question worth pursuing.  It is rather not a hotline but a flying squad that should have been established to rescue innocent victims who are rendered absolutely powerless in a situation of an abuse.

The incident is an eye-opener to every parent who blindly believes public places such as schools can provide an ultimate protection to his/ her child. Rather than being dangerously oblivious, they should come to terms with the fact that safety is something the child should learn to provide for himself/herself. Perhaps it is high time the people understand that educating children on safety cannot be the responsibility of the schools alone.

It should come from home. Even the media, rather than sensationalizing such incidents, should have programmes to raise awareness among children and parents on apparent threats.

As it often happens, people taking the law into their hands cannot be the proper way of meting out justice. Safety should not be an illusion and protection should not be a fairy tale.

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